Power to the People

Enthusiastic coders and hackers are starting to pay it forward, by ­building kits to help ­beginners achieve computing ­literacy. These three sets mark a growing DIY movement that has ­nothing to do with crafts stores.

1. Technology Will Save Us DIY Gamer Kit
The DIY Gamer Kit asks players to construct their own Game Boy–size ­console before they can (once again) get addicted to Snake. Ambitious ­users can hack together more sophisticated games, and then wirelessly connect and compete with fellow gamers. ($80)

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2. Kano DIY Computer Kit

With this build-your-own computer--which cofounder Alex Klein calls "as intuitive as a Lego set"--Kano wants to demystify the inner workings of our favorite gadgets. Once assembled, Kano syncs with a monitor or TV screen, and a dead-simple ­manual gets kids coding ­software. ($99)

3. LittleBits Synth Kit

LittleBits first launched with a kit that taught kids basic electronics. Now it's expanding, with this music-making Synth Kit that uses magnets--not cords--to create instruments. Magnets make it easy to swap out pieces and replace sounds in just seconds, so "there are very few opportunities to make a mistake," says the company's product manager, Paul Rothman. ($159)

[Photo by Greg Broom]

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