This is the premise of Kano, a do-it-yourself computer kit company that is currently publishing an update for its successful laptop kit. "We thought, what would have been better than a laptop you did on your own? A touchscreen laptop made by yourself," says Kano CEO and co-founder Alex Klein. He hopes the addition of the touchscreen will make Kano's computers even more accessible and desirable, since touch is often the first way young people interact with screens, and at the same time stimulates them to build their own technology.
In 2013, Klein launched Kano with a Kickstarter campaign and launched a wave of do-it-yourself technology toys for children. The company's products, which include a computer kit and a Harry Potter wand kit, a camera, a speaker and a pixel grid, have built a cult following, with over 250,000 users and 600,000 creations on the online platform of the company. The kits are all designed for children over the age of 6, with a storybook-style instruction booklet and color-coded parts that fit together. For younger children, it's probably something they would do with their parents, but with advancing age, the colorful block-based coding makes it easier for them to learn the basics of programming on their own. Once the computer is built, Kano's operating system is filled with different levels of programming challenges to help children create their own apps, including tutorials for creating painting and music applications.
With the addition of a touchscreen to his computer kit, Klein hopes to compete not only with other do-it-yourself computer toys, but also with professional tablets, perhaps even replacing the ubiquitous iPad that parents use to silence their screaming children. "With this product we want to create a competitive offer to ... tablet, [for] parents and children who are hungry for a first computer experience, shared, which builds the mind and consumes time, "says Klein.
And while a Kano touchscreen computer, built using a Raspberry Pi, definitely will not match the quality of a device like the iPad, it has a storage capacity of 16 GB and three hours of battery life, as well as supporting apps like YouTube and WhatsApp on The Kano operating system. (For a child who has just started with screens, it's probably a good thing that the battery does not last very long.)
Above all, it is meant to involve children construction technology, not just by consuming it. "It provides a real computer that is fast and can run YouTube and Minecraft but this pushes you into the joyous moment of discovery and creation, "says Klein." We want to show why in 2018 the first computer you get should be one that builds and codifies, and does not have to be a less exciting experience. or engaging only because it is creative and constructive ".
The research found that children using maker kits at school tend to be more interested in STEM related fields, (though there is little research that building technology as a child will change the way that you use it or it helps you to have a healthier relationship with technology when you're older). However, Klein's belief that building technology will help children be more engaged with the way it works in the future is a hope: in a world where the lack of public understanding of how technology works can have devastating consequences. the more we educate our children, the better.