Move over Raspberry Pi, there’s a new micro computer in town, and it’s geared [for now] primarily at British schoolchildren. We first brought you news about the Micro:bit in early March as a part of the BBC’s “Make it Digital” campaign. At the time the device was still in the prototype stage, but the device is now being shown to the public in its final production form.
The Micro:bit measures just 2-inches by 1.6-inches and is powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 processor. You’ll also find two push buttons for input, a microUSB connector, Bluetooth connectivity, an accelerometer, a compass, and 25 programmable LED lights clustered around the center of the board (you can see more of the device’s specs by visiting this BBC site).
While the Micro:bit was originally supposed to come with its own onboard button battery, the final production device instead uses a separate pack that accepts two AAA batteries and plugs directly into the board. The added bulk of the battery pack may limit the the usefulness of the Micro:bit for more adventurous projects (think wearable computing), but it shouldn’t be a deterrent for school kids that are learning the ropes with respect to coding.
As you might have already surmised, the BBC didn’t go at this project all alone; it had plenty of help from some big names in the tech community including ARM, Microsoft, and Samsung. “The simple truth is, being a maker matters. Real computing, doing not just consuming, will drive a creative revolution in this country,” said Microsoft UK CEO Michel Van der Bel. “That’s why as a key partner in Make it Digital, Microsoft is helping to give a programmable Micro:bit device to every year seven child in the country.”
One the initial run of one million Micro:bit computers is delivered to school children, the BBC plans to license out the design to other computers to keep production flowing.