Pixel Kit - Internet enabled or tethered?

pixel-kit

#1

Hello fellow Kano friends! I have been scratching my head on this one, reviewing YouTube videos, and reading all of the material on the site here…but I’m still thrown by an issue with the internet connection. I’m wondering if there is a misunderstanding on my side and if someone here could help clear this up for me.

I recently bought a Pixel Kit, love it, and I do not believe it is having any issues. So far so good! It connects to my WiFi at home. I can send creations to the Pixel whether it is plugged in via USB to my computer OR just via WiFi. If I make a creation that reaches out to the internet, such as the Weather Window, the Pixel responds correctly while connected (USB or WiFi) to my computer. When the Kano app is NOT running on my computer, the app on the Kano does NOT connect to the internet and update as expected. The second I connect with the Kano app? It will display correctly. I reset and reconfigured my Pixel and laptop to talk on a different WiFi network just to rule out my home router as an issue. No change in behavior.

I noticed a YouTube review where the person showed the Pixel displaying the correct weather while it was tethered to their computer and it made me wonder if I made an assumption. I assumed the Pixel would connect to a single WiFi network (per the setup), without being connected to a computer. Is that true? Or does the Pixel need to be connected to the Kano app in order to make Internet requests?

The more I thought about it, I could see the security reasons (focusing on kids here) as to why the Pixel does not work like that without the Kano app running.

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!


#2

Hello!

I don’t recall having to be connected to my laptop to use the internet on my pixel kit. I do know (at least what I remember) that the internet function is only for the weather.


#3

Hey @babblingdweeb,

I’m going to add a little confusion, and then hopefully a whole heap of clarity.

A Little Confusion

There are two versions of the Pixel Kit.

A Whole Heap of Clarity

The first was launched through Kickstarter, and provided to Kickstarter backers - this has a full microcomputer board inside (kinda like a Raspberry Pi) and can be used untethered as a standalone device.

The second version (A.K.A the Retail Pixel Kit [RPK]), is what we have always sold through kano.me and our retail partners - this has a microcontroller board inside, and needs to be tethered to a device running the Kano App (either by USB cable, or WiFi) for apps, games, or internet connected creations (like the Weather Station) to work.

The three memory slots on the RPK can hold animations, which will run when the kit is disconnected from your device/Kano OS.

You can learn more about the different versions of the kits in the Kano Product History post. :slight_smile:

Thanks!

Chris


#4

Hello there! Thank you for the feedback!! @chris and @DJPMcG

Thank you so much for clearing that up. I could not find that information anywhere and I was worried that something was wrong with my kit. Would it be possible to add that distinction between the two kits on the page you referenced? It’s not the end of the world for me, I just didn’t want to do a return on the device if it wasn’t defective. :slight_smile: I was using it for a demo with kids this weekend and just tethered it to make it work.

I noticed a similar behavior with the microphone. It acts like it’s overmodulated when untethered, causing things to act in a loop, vs tethered it correctly responds to the computer microphone. It will sense sound for sure, but only if it is very loud. The built in sound oscilloscope/game will respond if you yell or tap on the plastic. Otherwise it seems to peg at the top even when it’s quiet with zero background noise.


#5

Updated @babblingdweeb :slightly_smiling_face:


#6

Thanks, but it sucks that this is so hidden, I’m pretty disappointed having just bought one and found out it’s crippled compared to the ones I was seeing reviewed etc.


#7

Hi @haggie,

Apologies for the confusion/disappointment.

We haven’t intentionally hidden that there are two versions, but since the Kickstarter Kit wasn’t available to anyone but the relatively small group of our early Kickstarter backers in 2017, we don’t post this comparison on our main site, as it would create more confusion.

The only Pixel Kit that ever been available at retail (through Kano.me and our retail partners), is the version with a micro-controller inside that needs to be tethered to run apps and internet connected code.


#8

If I flash it with the Pixel32 / MicroPython will I be able to work around this?
Can the Kano App be run in a headless mode as service?


#9

Hi @haggie,

Pixel32 involves flashing the firmware chip on your Pixel Kit, so you’re no longer able to use Kano Code/the Kano App, but will need to code directly in Micro Python.

You’re very much hacking the kit, and out in the world of unsupported exploration.

Would recommend checking out @murilo thread on Pixel32 - Pixel32: Pixel Kit Running MicroPython on the Browser!


#10

I love the Kano products, but I do agree this was an odd twist and disappointment. I work with some teachers and librarians who have Kano computer kits that they (or I bring) as extra workstations to STEAM events. At the last event, I advised several people to stay away from the pixel kit altogether because the retail product doesn’t make any sense. Especially for classroom settings if I can’t let the kids handle it without holding my computer too.

I have no problem tethering while coding, or to get code onto the device. It doesn’t need to be wireless for that. If I have code that uses the microphone, it works better tethered vs solo. I had assumed the mic was malfunctioning, and causing code to loop. Example: The code for the simple face, my son loves it. It runs in a constant animation loop when untethered, vs works as expected when tethered with no change other than tethering. I’m just not going to give him my laptop and the pixel to run around and show his friends. I figured we would code it on the computer, copy it to the device, and it would work.

I have zero issues with the tilt sensor or other things not being included --totally get that for Kickstarter vs retail. There is usually something “extra” for Kickstarter. I totally appreciate having to make changes on a product before going to retail. Unfortunately, the issue is that it’s a different product. It’s a lite version of the product. I got mine from Kano during the recent holiday sale, so I look at it as paying less for a lite version. I cannot recommend anyone pay full price for the retail version.

I don’t want to leave this on a negative note! :slight_smile: Kano still gets my vote for the computer kit, touch kit, and the motion kit (I haven’t tried the wand kit yet). I pushed a few motion kits at the same event I mentioned earlier. I’m looking forward to the next batch of goodies you release. :grinning: