Kano – Kickstart a Pi kit for beginners

We first met Alex Klein shortly after we’d launched the Raspberry Pi, when he was working for Newsweek and came to visit to write a story about us. Next we’d heard, he’d left Newsweek to start a company with Raspberry Pi at its heart. Today, he and his team have launched their project on Kickstarter.

Kano is one of the nicest Pi kits we’ve seen to date, and is aimed squarely at users who aren’t confident of their technical skills right out of the gate. It’s easy to put together, all the bits and pieces you’ll need are right there in the box, the software environment is designed to be accessible and intuitive, and the Kano team think it’s a great way into Raspberry Pi (and into computing) for young people, for people who don’t have computing experience and for other beginners.

In the box you’ll find:

1 – Kano Books
2 – Kano OS and Levels on 8GB SD card
3 – DIY Speaker
4 – Raspberry Pi Model B
5 – Kano Keyboard Combo
6 – Custom case
7 – Card mods and stencils
8 – Stickers!
9 – Cables: HDMI, Mini-USB
10 – Smart power plug (all region pins available)
11 – WiFi powerup

These primary school pupils below were among the first 200 testers to get their hands on a kit.

Check out the Kickstarter – we’ll be watching with interest!


AndyD avatar

I just read about Kano on the Fast Company Design website today. I was going to post about it, but no need to now.

Andy avatar

“Kano OS” – Debian? How close is it to Raspbian?

Alejandro avatar

Hi Andy
The OS is based on Debian Wheezy. It has been designed for beginners, with a simple set up process, that resembles more to a game than a configuration.

Here are just some of the features we’re most excited about:
– Boot up flow: Linux user creation seamless, user friendly
– Interface designed to be simple, exploratory, and high performance inspired by mobile, and game console dashboards
– Fast, boot time to desktop in less than 10 seconds
– Plug & play: ready to work without further configuration after first boot
– All multimedia packages onboard, Python, Pygame, OMXPlayer, YT and more
– Updated to latest kernel version
– Dynamical image resizing during first boot
– Network time synchronization built in using public NTP servers
– WiFi configuration through a command line interactive game
– YouTube command line client, and project to build it yourself
– Loaded with custom software: Kano blocks (Pong,Minecraft), make-music, snake and more levels
– Useful extras: Codecademy client, Scratch, Midori, Minecraft Pi Edition
– Simple tool to update the OS and software with one click
– Tracks your achievements and syncs seamlessly to web
– Full hardware floating point on Kano OS(-mfloat-abi=hard-mfpu=vfp) and arm_freq=700

Dominique Cave avatar

It looks beautiful. Will you be releasing the software as a download. Would love a little tinker with that :-) And that keyboard is too cute. Small kids will love it!

Alejandro avatar

Hi Dominique

Thanks for your interest! Kanux (Kano OS) and its software projects will be available to download short after our Kickstarter campaign finishes.

Phil avatar

Good luck with this. I’m not in the target market, but it looks like a good starter pack.

I like the look of the keyboard very much, though. Is it available separately?

Alejandro avatar

Thanks for your comment Phil,

You can always pledge the Kano Keyboard combo :-)

Adam avatar

What software comes pre-installed?

I am particularly interested in the coding packages.

Uglymike avatar

Just reading about it and they already reached their Kickstarter goal!! Way to go guys!!

Tom West avatar

One day to raise $100k… impressive!

Andrew Schroeder avatar

Foundation front page + Kickstarter = Success!

clive avatar

Ah, but the hard bit is making something that impresses us ;)

Alex Eames - RasPi.TV avatar

Looks to me like another “overnight success” that took several person-years of hard work to achieve.

Fantastic achievement. Kano look set to murder our recent Pi KickStarter Project funding record. Wonder how many days it’ll take? ;)

bertwert avatar

I agree!
I posted below your link- as you can see. For an idea when people order to buy your screen.

Alejandro avatar

Thanks a lot for your kind words Alex!

Andrew Schroeder avatar

Thinking about it again, its like for tech startups what appearing on Oprah’s Bookclub did for authors!

bertwert avatar

How about offering a link to here when people order:
An affordable HDMI screen built fr the pi.

lloyd braun avatar

///////and the Kano team think it’s a great way into Raspberry Pi (and into computing) for young people, for people who don’t have computing experience and for other beginners. /////////

YES!!! Finally!
THIS is the reason I was happy about the R-Pi in the first place.

Its not a revolutionary project since we have similar boards and while the price factor is nice, I just paid twice the amount of a Pi for my 7in tablet cover. And kids who are geeks or have teachers or parents who are geeks would have been the same had there not been a Pi.
My support (bought a few Pi’s) for the project comes from its educational goals which separate it from ther other mini boards: getting more kids interesting in coding, NOT just the ones who would have been there with or without a Pi.

The 3 groups of people that the quote talks about is the ones that I hoped Pi would reach. The kids who might be interested if they had someone knowledgeable to help and guide them.

As a lifelong judoka, the choice of the name Kano (the founder of judo) is just a great bonus.
But I havent been this excited about the R-Pi since it first came out.

Alejandro avatar

Hi lloyd!

Thanks a lot for your words. We specially like your comment about the company’s name :)

Declan Malone avatar

> As a lifelong judoka, the choice of the name Kano (the founder of judo) is just a great bonus
I’ve had the name of a character from a Murakami book in my head for a few days now (Malta Kano) and wondering why. Now I just realised that it must have been because I read about the Kano distribution on The Register earlier and didn’t make the connection until now.

Adam avatar

When can we buy one of these if we missed the Kickstarter?

How much will it retail for.

Where will the software be downloaded from for existing Pi owners?

Phillip Nicholas avatar

I would like to buy some Kanos as well. Are these no longer available?

Alejandro avatar

Hi Phillip

You can pre-oder the kit from the website: http://get.kano.me/

And download the OS for free here: http://www.kano.me/downloads

Luis avatar

Personally I don’t like Kano. I think its marketing its misleading. It suggests that it is needed to “build a computer”. The early games don’t in my opinion contribute any more than a straight forward scratch environment.

I teach very young children computing with a raspberry pi and frankly they enjoy it and get it. They build their own computer i.e plug in a keyboard, monitor, power supply and mouse without any problem. At first I used just the GUI. Later I found that some of the children who saw me use the command line want to do the same thing and they kept asking me to teach them. Now I teach kids as young as 7 the basics of command line bash.

Many of the older kids have very high expectations of Graphics – and they get frustrated by the slow responsiveness of the GUI. This of course is not changed by Kano – if anything it is worse.

So I do not recommend Kano to any parent who wants their children to “learn computing”.

Rhayn avatar


Is the keyboard only qwerty or azerty ?
Can I watch stream like LCS with your kano ?

John Samson avatar

I am ***extremely*** dissatisfied with KANO.

How difficult is it to put kits together and ship them to your customers???

I ordered a kit an KANO has been unable to ship it. SO FRUSTRATING!!!

James Hughes avatar

I’m afraid we cannot do anything about that here….you need to talk to Kano.

Comments are closed