Learn Electronic and Coding with BBC’s MicroBit Development Platform
To make teaching and learning computers easy, BBC in 2015 launched a pocket-sized codeable open source ARM based embedded system called Microbit which soon became very famous among students and teachers in UK for learning ICT and Coding. Microbit is the result of collaboration effort made by 29 partners with BBC including Microsoft and others with an ambition to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers.
Microbit is a credit card size device loaded with ARM Cortex-M0 processor, an accelerometer and a magnetometer sensor. It also has inbuilt Bluetooth and USB connectivity with a 25 LED display. It can be powered via USB or external battery pack.
Key Features of the MicroBit
- 25 red LEDs to light up, flash messages, create games and invent digital stories.
- Two programmable buttons activated when pressed. Use the micro:bit as a games controller. Pause or skip songs on a playlist.
- On-board motion detector or “accelerometer” that can detect movement and tell other devices you’re on the go. Featured actions include shake, tilt and freefall. Turn the micro:bit into a spirit level. Light it up when something is moved. Use it for motion-activated games.
- A built-in compass or “magnetometer” to sense which direction you’re facing, your movement in degrees, and where you are. Includes an in-built magnet, and can sense certain types of metal.
- Bluetooth Smart Technology to connect to the internet and interact with the world around you. Connect the micro:bit to other micro:bits, devices, kits, phones, tablets, cameras and everyday objects all around. Share creations or join forces to create multi-micro:bit masterpieces. Take a selfie. Pause a DVD or control your playlist.
- Five Input and Output (I/O) rings to connect the micro:bit to devices or sensors using crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs. Use the micro:bit to send commands to and from the rings, to power devices like robots and motors.
The partner who made microbit a reality includes –
Product partners include:
- ARM – providing mbed hardware, software development kits and compiler services
- Barclays – supporting overall product delivery and outreach activities
- element14 – sourcing components and managing the manufacturing
- Freescale – supplying the sensors and USB controllers
- Lancaster University – created and wrote the micro:bit runtime
- Microsoft – providing the TouchDevelop web-based programming tools and hosting service as well as teacher training materials
- Nordic Semiconductor – supplying the main processor and enabled Bluetooth Smart
- Samsung – connecting the BBC micro:bit to phones and tablets, and developing the Android app
- ScienceScope – distributing to schools and developing the iOS App
- Technology Will Save Us – designed the shape, look and feel of the device
- The Wellcome Trust – Providing learning opportunities for teachers and schools
Product champions, who helped to support the device through outreach, engagement, educational resources and additional services include, Bluetooth SIG, Cannybots, Cisco, Code Club, Coderdojo, Code Kingdoms, Creative Digital Solutions, CultureTECH, Institution of Engineering and Technology, Kitronik, London Connected Learning Centre, MyMiniFactory, Python Software Foundation, STEMNET, TeenTech and the Tinder Foundation.
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