STEM

Hack @ Home with Scouts, Kano and Plusnet

May 9, 2020

At the start of the year, we were challenged by Plusnet to develop some coding skills and create a project that would help others. This was to form part of a collaboration with Plusnet, The Raspberry Pi foundation and Scouts; showing young people how the power of the internet can be a force for positive change.

*As part of this collaboration, we received a Kano home computer kit to help us with the coding side of the project*

The Kano ‘build your own computer’ kit with Raspberry Pi

In research conducted by the people at Plusnet on the real-world issues that young people care about today, they discovered that:

  • 65% felt that plastic pollution was the biggest problem affecting the environment today
  • 45% said that online bullying was the biggest cause of mental health issues in young people
  • 56% felt a lack of support and understanding from society was the biggest issue facing people living with hidden disabilities

Working with The Raspberry Pi Foundation, the hackathon saw young people use the power of online connectivity to code solutions to these issues.

The inventions included:

  • A digital diary which translates emotional words to emojis for people with autism
  • A gamified basketball style bin which rewards people who recycle
  • An app that tracks carbon footprints and rewards good decisions with points to get environment-friendly products like LED lights and metal straws
  • A timed flashing light which can help regulate breathing for people suffering from panic attacks
  • A happy bot that recognises faces and gives compliments to people suffering from loneliness

Dexter and I looked at some of the problems we have in our local area to decide which issue we would like to tackle.
Being a bit of a mini eco-warrior, Dexter decided he would love to create a robot that can not only pick up litter but filter out and separate the recycling too.

The point of the project wasn’t to actually build a robot and make it work, it was to show young people how you can do almost anything with code. With that in mind, we set about exploring that Kano kit.

It comes with very simple to understand instructions to put it together. Once connected to the power, it runs you through some instructions on your tv screen for the initial set up and then there are all sorts of games and things to play and explore. Our favourite one so far is Kano World where you control a character moving around the inside of the computer.

Kano – all set up

The idea of his being that it explains what each part of the computer does. You follow a white rabbit around, exploring the area and learning facts about the system as you go.

Whilst we are still exploring basic coding concepts, (With the help of Botley, LEGO WeDo, Code.org and Kano) we are really enjoying putting into practice all of our new skills.

Kano is a great bit of kit and a really educational tool and hopefully someday soon we’ll be able to show you Dexters skills

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