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Micro bit is going to be given away free to almost 1 million UK year 7 pupils (age 11) by the BBC bit. The BBC Micro bit 'Make it Digital' project is designed to get children creating with computers not simply being mindless consumers of the products.
The micro bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass, accelerometer and Bluetooth technology. It is able to be programmed via smartphones or tablets, the only downside as far as we see is there is not out-put for a monitor/display.
A collaboration between 29 partners, the micro bit is the BBC's most ambitious education initiative in 30 years, with an ambition to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers. Let's hope that's just what it does!
BBC Microbit Back showing the connectors and labelled chips
BBC Microbit Front with LED display and two push switches.
What does BBC Microbit look like?
The BBC micro:bit includes:
• 25 red LEDs to light up, flash messages, create games and digital stories.
• Two programmable buttons activated when pressed, this means that it can be used as a games controller and also to pause, skip and play songs on a playlist for example.
• On-board motion detector or “accelerometer” that can detect movement and tell other devices you’re on the go. It will be able to detect actions such as shaking, tilting and freefall. At a simple use it means that the BBC Micro bit can be used as a spirit level, but with imagination and a little coding it will light it up when something is moved. This means you can use it for motion-activated games, how cool is that!.
• A built-in compass or “magnetometer” to sense which direction you’re facing, your movement in degrees, and where you are. Includes a in-built magnet, and can sense certain types of metal. This is where we have to defer to your imagination...metal detector seems not quite good enough, and we are sure the bright young 11 year olds who get their hands in these will come up with much better ideas!
• Bluetooth Smart Technology to connect to the internet and interact with the world around you. Connect the micro:bit to other microbits, devices, kits, phones, tablets, cameras and everyday objects all around. Share creations or join forces to create multi-microbit masterpieces. Take a selfie.
• Five Input and Output (I/O) rings to connect the microbit to devices or sensors using crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs, so familiar in schools. This means you can connect your BBC Microbit to Raspberry Pi and Arduino. The micro bit sends commands to and from the rings, to power devices like robots and motors.
Powered by 3 AAA batteries.
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