The Micro:bit is essentially a codeable computer that lets kids get creative with technology. It measures 5cm by 4cm and will be available in different colors.
The idea behind the Micro:bit is to encourage young children to learn how computers work, and to get kids into programming and engineering at the young age.
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What does this tiny little computer contain?
The Micro:bit, made in collaboration with ARM, Barclays, element14, Freescale, Lancaster University, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, Samsung and the Wellcome Trust, contains:
- A 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU
- Programmable Array of 25 red LEDs
- Micro USB port through which it can be powered
- Three input-output (I/O) Ring Connectors to hook it up to other kits and sensors
- Bluetooth for connectivity
- A 3V output connector to power external devices
- A 20-pin edge connector
- Two on-board buttons that can act as a game controller
- A battery connector which connects to a separate AAA battery holder
- An accelerometer to make a hi-tech spirit level
- In-built Compass
The series of 25 programmable red LEDs lights is designed to help children get instant results, and its input/output (I/O) rings help connect other computing kit, including the Raspberry Pi, Galileo, Arduino, Kano and littleBits, to carry out more complex tasks.
The Micro:bit is programmed through a modified version of Microsoft's TouchDevelop Web-based coding environment. Microsoft also provided two coding languages – The text-based Microsoft TouchDevelop and a graphical coding language Microsoft Blocks.
The BBC Micro:bit is almost 18 times faster and about 600 times lighter than the original BBC Micro, which celebrated its 33rd birthday recently.
When would you get Micro:bit?
BBC is planning to distribute over 1 Million Micro:bit devices for Free to every Year 7 (11 or 12 year-old) child or equivalent at the school across the UK in October this year.
By the end of this year, the general public will also be able to purchase Micro:bit. Although the cost has not been announced yet, Micro:bit will be cheap.