Designed as a direct opposition to devices that encourage endless media consumption, KANO-XP focuses on creation and experimentation. With a Game Boy-inspired aesthetic, the KANO-XP boasts of a modular interface system, alternating between gaming controls to a synth to a MIDI pad.

I imagine this is exactly the kind of thing the folks at Teenage Engineering would create, although the KANO-XP is the brainchild of Cameron Bensimon, a final-year student at Central Saint Martins, London. Designed to help empower teenagers when it comes to creation (and occasionally recreation), KANO-XP introduces them to the joy of music-making before they slip into the addictive grasps of social media and streaming apps.

The bright orange handheld gadget runs on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module, and features a small display along with the interchangeable interface system. The two main interfaces are the traditional synth interface, modeled on the popular piano keys, and the MIDI button layout, designed for electronic music production. “The modularity makes it a perfect tool for DJs as a soundboard or a synthesizer, or it could be the brains of a robot for a high school project”, says Cameron. The latter example would most likely be powered by the KANO-XP’s third interface, a gaming control layout comprising a D-Pad and 4 action buttons. Given that the KANO-XP is a student project and not a commercial one, there isn’t much clarity on the kind of software it would run, but Cameron mentions that KANO-XP’s design is open-source, and can support additional peripherals like sensors, transmitters, or even a webcam.

Ultimately, it’s merely a tool for youngsters to unleash their creativity. The musical interfaces allow kids to explore, experiment, jam, and compose, while the gaming interface either serves as an input for robotics-inspired projects, or just as a way to casually let off steam by playing a few games between projects!

Designer: Cameron Bensimon

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