U.K. Innovators: Creating DIY Computers and Kids that Code
From Raspberry Pi to ARM and Kano, Hello World explores how the U.K. is reviving its innovation and tech profile with locally grown inventions.
What happens when children gain access to the tools needed to build computers? The world will witness new levels of inspiration and innovation, according to technologists in the U.K.
From the founders of ARM, creators of low-power, energy-efficient chips used in Apple and Android devices to the makers of Raspberry Pi, a low-cost computer used by coders and inventors worldwide, the U.K. should be shouting about its technology innovation. But being a bit more subdued, and perhaps even too British, according to Mike Muller, CTO of ARM, enables the company to be part of more innovations across diverse industries. The company’s chips have found success in their own right, but ARM chips are a major element of smartphones, printers, anti-lock brakes, Wi-Fi routers, medical devices and more.
“We are quite happy to work in partnership with people and let them stand up and shout out about their products,” Muller said in the latest episode of Hello World, hosted by Ashlee Vance for Bloomberg TV. “We let other people innovate around what we do and let them take the glory.”
Kano for Kids
Take Kano, for example. Founded in 2013, Kano took the idea of bringing Raspberry Pi to kids. Former journalist Alex Klein, now co-founder and CEO, of Kano, wanted to enable kids to make “computers from scratch” and help them learn how to code.
Kids today can maneuver an Apple or Android device with great ease, but innovators in England wanted to provide children with the tools to create their computing devices, that perhaps aren’t already perfectly polished. With do-it-yourself computer kits, Kano combines the computing power of Raspberry Pi (equipped with an ARM chip) with the innovation of a child’s mind.
“This generation, they’ve only experienced computers in the post-Jobs era, perfectly polished, constrained consumption devices. The notion of Kano was to break it apart and let a young person build a computer from the inside out,” Klein said.
“They are building apps that are worth millions, they are solving problems in ways that their elders could never comprehend,” Klein says. “If you give them something that is as powerful as a mainline developer, something that can make a robot, something that can make a server, you’ll see what this generation can do. They really have the power.”