Kano’s first product was a computer that kids could build as easily as a LEGO set, helping to demystify the technologies we obsess over. The company’s next product is a buildable, motion-sensing wand that swaps spells for simple programming, making it easy for kids to conjure up magical interactions with a flick of the wrist — and hopefully learn a thing or two about coding in the process.
Assembling the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit won’t be as complicated as Kano’s original Computer Kit, which should make the interactive wand a more accessible teaching tool for younger kids.
You simply insert a small computer into the base of a plastic wand, and instead of phoenix feathers or unicorn hairs, a combination of electronic sensors — including an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer — translate the wand’s real-world movements to an accompanying app that’s available for mobile devices and computers.
As with other programmable STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) electronic toys on the market, the wand’s accompanying Harry Potter-themed app is designed to ease kids into programming concepts using a graphical interface where instructions are assembled and nested like virtual building blocks.
Programs range from something as simple as using the wand to make a virtual feather float, to more complicated creations that trigger sound effects and explosions based on how the wand is being rotated and waved around.
That means the wand has the potential to become more than just a toy for your kids. Adults already familiar with j-script could expand its functionality to use it as an interactive remote for smart lights and appliances, making its $US100 ($136) price tag, when it’s available starting on October 1, more appealing to parents, tinkerers, and all us muggles who want to turn the lights off with a flick of the wrist.