Brains and beginnings – our new kits

Since a 7-year-old’s challenge, thousands of you in dozens of countries have come together to back and build: computers, mountains, songs, flowers, solar-powered cinemas, millions of lines of code – from Malawi to the living room to your Russian grandma who thought she’d never get this stuff. It’s a start and a spark for a new creative computer company – simple and open, for anyone, anywhere – to look inside and take control, beyond the sealed screen.

What’s news?

Today, we’re launching the new Kano: simpler, speedier, and with new creative powers – built on the Raspberry Pi 2.

The new brain is six times faster, with twice the memory, and better power management for more reliable making.

The new Kano OS that powers it is still free and open-source, so if you have a kit, it’s a simple update – here’s a guide.

But we’ve also made something special and physical, designed for the tribe.

We call it the Powerup Kit. We only plan to make 500. It turns your first Kano into a programmable disco triggered by Minecraft and more, and upgrades you to a sixfold faster experience.

It’s a simple, physical, fun kit – and an internet-powered lightshow you make yourself.

Our Pi 1 Powerup Kit is $89 with free international shipping, and you can preorder here.

The message: you don’t have to throw your first brain away, but can use it to learn and make something new, colorful, and fit-for-purpose.

We’re also releasing Make Art, a digital easel to learn code by painting characters, fractals, and planets. It can be played on the web by anyone, anywhere – and on the kit, with achievements and unlocks.

We’ve come up with a new Character Creator, to design your digital judoka. Our new profile system splits up user and guardian emails, and links you into a world of projects you can build together to level up your character.

One more thing…

We shared this news today onstage at the shmancy Disrupt conference – with a kicker. We’re getting bigger and bolder, and bringing onboard new talent. We’re pleased to welcome to the team Jim Breyer, who drove the first PC revolution at Dell, and helped launch a youth movement that became an indispensable tool for human expression: Facebook. To grow our now-16 nationality team, Jim’s helping to fund the next stage, alongside the economist Jim O’Neill (he thought up the BRIC forces), the team at Collaborative Ventures, and hopefully: you. You backed us to get a kit, now if you buy the promise for the computer anyone can make, you can join the round through crowd-equity platform Quire. Register your interest here.

Through the round, we’re setting aside 1% of our company’s equity for the Kano Academy: our not-for-profit effort to bring open, affordable making to places with untapped potential. In the past, we’ve done this organically, supporting Kelvin Doe in Sierra Leone, Caine’s Arcade in LA, and the Stanford Learning Inventions team in Thailand. A “Golden Share” of the growth to come will get kits further, faster.

All in all…

Thanks are not enough. You’ve built a creative computing movement with words and deeds. We’re a small team trying to do big things, in a PC age that needs a new soul, made by you, beyond the 1% of 1% in-the-know and the next gold-plated wrist wotsit.