Hacking your kit: Introducing the Community SDK for Pixel and Motion Sensor Kit!

Hi makers, hackers and tinkerers!

From the very beginning, our focus at Kano has always been to inspire curious minds to look inside, open things up, hack and remix what's there. This has led to some amazing creations over the years with the Computer Kit, from people flashing their own LED lights to controlling their own robots or hacking circuits.

On the other hand, after we released the Pixel Kit and Motion Sensor Kit in 2017, the only way to control them has been the Kano App. Whilst the App offers a ton of possibilities for both devices, we understand sometimes you just want to be able to write your own code, rather than rely on the block-based interface. We've had lots of interest and requests about being able to control these kits directly with code. Recently we did a quick tutorial on how to control Spotify using a Motion Sensor Kit, inspired by this we wanted to take the idea a step further and open up both devices for more general purposes.

That's why today we're very excited to open up both the Pixel Kit and the Motion sensor kit by introducing what we call the Community SDK for both devices!

What is the Community SDK?

The Community SDK, available here, is a set of scripts, tools, and libraries aimed at helping anyone interested in interacting with a Pixel Kit or Motion Sensor Kit via their favorite programming language and preferred coding editor. This SDK is the only thing you need to do to start coding your devices directly with any of the supported languages.

How does it work?

It's as simple as cloning the repository on your machine and get coding. We've put together a nice wiki that explains you the requirements for each language.

All of the code is running on your computer, which will be reading the data from the Pixel Kit and Motion Sensor Kit and telling them what to do if you're sending any data back.

What languages are supported?

Right now the libraries and examples have been built in Javascript/Node.js and Python3. We welcome pull requests for other languages of course!

What can I do for each device?

The libraries operate at a very low level, helping you obtain basic events and data from both devices, as well as providing you with examples for some more advanced operations. Below is a list of the main areas we've covered.

For the Pixel Kit you can do things like:

  • Read events from the Pixel Kit, like joystick, buttons, and dials being activated.
  • Send data to the RGB matrix.
  • Scan for available wireless networks and get battery and network status.

For the Motions Sensor Kit, on the other hand, you can:

  • Read proximity values (how close an object is to the Motion Sensor)
  • Read the gesture being performed (wave up, wave down, wave left, wave right...)
  • Change the polling interval (how many seconds between you read the data from the motion sensor).

How do I get involved?

Download the SDK, start creating and feel free to leave us any comments directly on our Github repository. We welcome all pull requests, so if you want to contribute to the libraries or examples we encourage you to do so!

More from David Ortiz