Micro:bit - british school's queen board - Microprocessor board for children 11 years and up

What’s micro:bit?

micro:bit is a little ARM programmable microprocessor (that’s like a limited computer) with various sensor (light, temperature, acceloremeter, compass), 25 programamable leds, radio and bluetooth, pins for external connections, two programmable buttons and USB.

These specs are compressed in a little 4,2 cm x 5,1 cm (1,65 in x 2 in) board with circuits and connectors on one side and leds and buttons on the other (which on our opinion resemble a little face). In part it looks like a more powerfull and versatile Makey Makey. All the sensors on the micro:bit open a world of possibilities.

¿Does it sound like it’ll be only for robotics and coding buffs? Well, it’s not! It’s easy to code for (it has its own block-based visual editor, and there’s also Scratch) and it’s easy to use (if you can connect a usb to a computer, you’re good to go).

What’s the story of micro:bit glory?

micro:bit was born for schools at United Kingdom (home of our beloved Raspberry Pi). It was created by BBC in 2012 as part of the Computer Literacy Programme and as a homage to the BBC Micro (a vintage microcomputer). Nowadays 780.000 kids use it and 75% of United Kingdom schools are part of micro:bit Educational Foundation. It’s a success among the education community, with 90% of students saying that it showed them that anybody can code.

As you can see the micro:bit has lots of government support and lot of resources and possibilities. And a reasonable price!

Micro:bit micro controller board specifications and characteristics

Who is micro:bit for?

 BBC micro:bit micro-controller with motion detection, compass, LED display and BluetoothIt’s 11 and up. But as you know this is kind of relative… It depends on your kid and if he or she has used block-based visual coders before. If that’s the case, go ahead. The micro:bit is sturdy. When using these kind of boards sometimes it seems the connectors are going to fall apart. Not micro:bit’s, it seems it could withstand anything.

If as an adult you fancy the board there’s lot of activities you can use to introduce it at home, so kids can start to understand coding logic, sensors… Or maybe you can use it as a support for other activities (a treasure hunt using its sensors, led-based games…) so there’s no need for the kids to code.

Some of the activities will need more than one micro:bit, which doesn’t come as a surprise due to the school origin of the board. Still there’re lots that will work with only one. And while it’s origin is on the school you can perfectly use it at home, if you’re motivated.


Fun projects with micro:bit

BBC Micro:bit - Microcontroller board for hobby and educational activities in electronics, coding and computing

micro:bit can be programmed with MakeCode (block based visual editing and Javascript, do enter their web they have a micro:bit emulator) and Python. These two are the official editors but due to micro:bit’s success there’s lots more like Scratch, EduBlocks, Arduino IDE… And a long list. But lets look at some project so you can have a general idea of micro:bit’s possibilities:

Some of these are pretty advanced and will need more materials (servos and such). But we found them amazing and a good benchmark of what can be done. But there’s much more, check these 117 projects with different difficulties.

What do I need to play with micro:bit?

You might need a computer (Windows, macOS, Linux, anything goes) and it doesn’t have to be a powerful one. Just check that it has a USB connector (it most definitely will!).

There’s apps for Android and iOS but you won’t be able to code with them (a real pity!). You’ll be able to send you programs via bluetooth and connect both devices. While you can code with  MakeCode on a browser in a tablet or phone we haven’t tested that much.

What should I get for home?

Let’s take a look at the different buying options:

BBC micro:bit Go, the basic kit

BBC Micro:bit - Excellent little hobby and educational toy in the world of electronics, coding and computing

You can find the board sold on its own, but we wouldn’t recommend it. At the very last you’ll want the micro:bit with a battery adaptor so you can it use without having a USB cable connected to a computer. That’ll make it easier to use the compass, light sensor…

Buy in Amazon

You might also want to buy an alligator clip pack. Maybe you won’t need them at the beginning but when you tackle more advanced projects they are a must.

micro:bit Tinker Kit with a micro:bit board

Micro:bit Tinker Kit - MakerFocus BBC Micro:bit Starter Kit Tinker Kit Include Micro:bit Board, Micro:bit Microcontroller Board Used for Classroom Teaching and STEAM projectsThis a whole new level. This pack includes the micro:bit with the battery pack, a servomotor, more external sensor, and OLED screen, buttons… There’s also a little book full of projects to use all this shiny new material. A nice bargain if you’re sure the micro:bit will be a hit at home.

Buy in Amazon

We hope you liked this article, we’ll keep posting more about micro:bit, because there’s lots to explore.

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