The Harry Potter universe is already being used to get children excited about reading. Now Kano, makers of the kid-friendly Kano Computer Kit, is betting it can do the same for computer programming. Its Harry Potter Coding Kit ($100) challenges users to complete quests in a virtual wizarding world by programming “spells.” Once users enter a series of commands, they can make it so waving a physical wand up, for example, changes the color of a virtual potion, or moving it sideways causes an object to levitate—the same “if this, then that” logic that underpins traditional computer programming.
Kano worked with J.K. Rowling’s literary agency and Warner Bros. to ensure that its platform captured the magic of the wizarding world. The idea, says Kano CEO Alex Klein, is to give users “creative challenges” that empower them to solve problems, both on computers and in life. —Megan McCluskey