The BBC has been working on a new initiative to bring a pocket-sized computer to every 11 and 12 year old in the UK for about three years now, inspired from the corporation’s work on the BBC Micro in the 1980s, the computer is a 4cm by 5cm sized computer that aims to be the device kids will use to learn how to code.
The BBC think that by making the hardware part of this easily accessible they will get more involved with coding.
To do this they have fitted the micro:bit with a processor, compass, accelerometer, USB power port, a Bluetooth antenna, and five Input and Output rings that will allow kids to connect up to five crocodile clips to the board and to other devices, all of which has been purposely exposed to entice the children’s imagination.
But that’s not all, micro:bit will also feature two buttons for interactivity and 25 LED lights that can provide feedback or display a message.
This is all thanks to the development by BBC Learning and the support from a total of 29 companies that include Samsung, ARM, Barclay’s and Microsoft.
Each of whom will be providing their own piece to the project with Microsoft giving all users a free copy of software that will allow them to simply drag and drop statements to create apps and code effortlessly.
Samsung is also working on developing an app for Android, with an iOS app coming along too.
Initially there will be 1 million BBC micro:bit computers made available, with units shipping to teachers in September, and then to pupils in October after which they will become the property of the kids rather than the schools.
The BBC will also be making some available to buy, however they have yet to provide a date or price, we do however know that the micro:bit technology will be open source.