Following in the footsteps of the hugely popular Raspberry Pi mini computer and Arduino microcontroller, comes micro bbc: a bit — and yes, we do mean, what BBC Continuing its earlier 1980s home/hobby computing days (30 years ago BBC Micro computers were a staple in UK schools and colleges), this tiny new computer was the result of a surprising number of partnerships.

But what is it for?

Launched as part of the BBC’s cross-platform Make It Digital initiative, micro:bit aims to make it easier for young people — and aspiring adults — to code and create a whole host of projects — from coding and launching games to turning. smart watch device.

Originally aimed at schools, the BBC micro:bit is now available to a wider audience, and when used with the code editor on the website or mobile app, or in combination with other devices or sensors, the potential for this is modest. small device unlocked. T

This is a BBC Micro: a little

The modest 5x4cm PCB shown here is a BBC micro:bit, a simple microcontroller that can be programmed on a PC, tablet or smartphone. The code is then compiled and downloaded to the device. On closer inspection, you will find various annotations indicating components, a neat touch on a device designed for learning, where the purpose of built-in components is usually hidden. The USB port is obvious; Bluetooth LE antenna is smaller so.


With five I/O rings for connecting devices, this is obviously even more straightforward than the Raspberry Pi Zero. — but a couple of programmable control buttons, an accelerometer, and a 5×5 LED array mean that a lot of functionality that you would normally need to buy extra bits for is instead available directly on the board, leaving those 5 I/O ports exclusively for external sensors.


Supplied with a battery pack (requires 2 AAA batteries), USB data cable, buzzer, audio cable, bulldog clips, and a USB stick with pre-written programs and projects, the micro:bit is ready to use once unboxed. Inside the box, you’ll find a nice piece of literature, including coding tutorials and the obligatory quick start guide. We had a guide for teachers, but as soon as the micro-bit becomes more accessible, we do not expect you to receive this particular document.


If you’d like more hands-on experience, is the place to find video tutorials and resources, as well as a range of editors such as the Java Script Code Kingdoms editor. and Microsoft Block Editor. Projects can be compiled and saved as .HEX files and transferred via USB to micro:bit.

The device can be used with a PC running Windows 7 or later, a Mac running OS X 10.6 or later, or an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. Internet access is also required!

Actually it’s for kids.

As useful as a device like this is for anyone trying to get their head around coding, the BBC micro:bit — like the Raspberry Pi — is aimed at kids, especially those over 8. It also comes with a suite of security tools. instructions that everyone, especially adults, should read and understand.


Therefore, our device was also tested by a child. This is Caitlin, who previously got access to our Kano controlled Raspberry Pi. . She is 11 years old and is more computer savvy; she uses them almost daily for school work.

Kids can get started with micro:bit by going to, where the all-important Generate Code button is located.

Encoding programs for micro:bit

There are four encoding options available for BBC micro:bit which are available on the website as browser-based tools. You can choose from JavaScript Code Kingdoms, Microsoft Block Editor, Microsoft Touch Develop and that old Python standard!

The first three come with tutorials, and all four have documentation. It’s really easy to get started. Here we will take a look at the Microsoft Block Editor, which can be launched (like the others) by clicking New project .

On the display on the left you will see a menu containing a set of blocks that you can drag into the main view. They are configurable and can be used to remotely control a smartphone camera or simply control an LED display. By pressing » Run» on the finished program, you can see the program representation in the micro:bit emulator on the right. This is pretty intuitive.


As you can see here, we’ve created a program that displays some text — static and scrollable — when the A and B buttons are pressed on the micro:bit. We first tested it on an emulator before syncing the compiled file with the micro:bit itself.

Many other options are available, and thanks to the simple block and loop approach to programming (demonstrated previously by our own doctor BBC Doctor Who» and The Dalek mobile browser app), kids of all ages can get started quickly. with the basics of programming. By the way, being a BBC computer project, the presence of their famous adventurer Time Lord can be felt — along with other popular BBC shows — in the pre-compiled projects that can be found on the 500MB BBC USB stick. Here you will find a collection of themed tunes that can be played in great 8-bit sound, including sherlock , Strictly Come Dancing popular theme tune Formula 1 for motorsport (Fleetwood Mac «The Chain») and, of course, » Doctor Who»


You can see what the program looks like in script form by clicking » Convert» is a useful way for young people and anyone new to programming to see what a script looks like away from the building blocks.

BBC Micro sync: bit

After creating a compiled HEX file containing the program, you will need to sync it with the BBC micro:bit. This is relatively simple and can be done by connecting the micro:bit to a PC via a USB cable.


The initial sync will set up your micro:bit and requires you to keep a close eye on an LED matrix where arrows point to two buttons when to press them and scroll through messages to tell you what to do next.


Create your program through micro:bit website then use the button compilation to save it as a .HEX file on your computer. This can be saved in a separate micro:bit project directory, or synced directly to micro:bit. If you want to copy a .HEX file from a directory, just drag and drop it into your file manager.

Don’t worry about these files taking up too much space on your hard drive; they’re tiny, with the music files mentioned above just over 400 kilobytes each (about the size of a low-res image and less than half a megabyte!).

Micro: bit of mobile applications

In addition to connecting the micro:bit to a computer, you can also connect it to a smartphone or tablet. Apps are available for Android devices (4.4 and up) and iPhone/iPad (iOS 8 and up) and all you have to do is turn on the micro:bit with a battery or USB power supply, and sync via Bluetooth by following the instructions instructions in the app. Both apps seem to be almost identical; screenshots and video clips are taken from the Android release.


From now on, you can access the micro:bit website to get started on the code, or download any existing code examples included with the app via a Bluetooth connection. For audio applications, be sure to connect the audio cable to the 0 and GND pins and to a speaker or headset. You can also use the buzzer.


Obviously, having a Bluetooth connection with a phone or tablet has a huge advantage. The micro:bit application makes the device as portable as a smartphone and increases its potential as a gaming or wearable equipment.

Almost every child over the age of 11 has a smartphone. Wouldn’t you rather they program their mics a little instead of wasting time on Snapchat ?

What can you do with BBC Micro:bit?

A range of projects are available for BBC micro:bit — the ones in your head as well as the ones you find on the site. The tutorial contains three projects: an alarm clock, a synthesizer, and a game that catches raindrops.


Meanwhile, the compact size of the micro:bit means the computer remains portable, which means it’s something to brag about! “Yes,” you might think, “everyone will want to look at the circuit board attached to my chest,” but just remember the 5×5 LED array on this programmable circuit board. A variety of 3D printable cases and holders are available (like this compass) that can be easily attached or worn on clothing. Can micro:bit lead the techno revolution? Time will tell, but the devices look surprisingly well tucked into clothing. Just don’t let the BBC micro: get a little wet.

The sheer number of corporate partners that have teamed up with the BBC to produce chips may prove to be a long-term limiting factor, but it is ultimately a useful and rewarding element.

Our verdict BBC micro:bit :
A great way to start coding with a toolbox for kids and adults alike, micro:bit has a number of useful components such as a set of LEDs. eight ten

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