Tuesday, July 7, 2015

BBC Micro:bit aims to inspire a new generation of tech-savvy kids

A few decades after the popular BBC Micro, BBC once again tries to inspire the new generations to dive into a more technological future, this new with a smaller micro-computer... for free.

The UK has been the birth place of several computer revolutions. The BBC Micro was the first computer that many people had contact with; the popular ZX Spectrum did the same for even more people; and more recently, we saw the Raspberry Pi spread around the world like a virus (of the good kind, if that's possible.)

The new Micro:bit da BBC will certainly be compared to the Raspberry Pi (as well as several Arduino board), but BBC says it's not their competitor. The small credit-card sized micro-computer has 25 LEDs, a couple of buttons and several sensors - all you need to start tinkering away. It also has Bluetooth LE and 5 input/output pins strategically place on one side, allowing easy access to alligator clips and banana jacks (maybe even a slot-in solution?) Programming will be done via a website, allowing you to simulate the results before sending it to the actual board.

The goal is to inspire a new generation, and to that effect BBC will be giving away these Micro:bit boars to every student in year 7 (11-12 year olds). If you're outside of the age range, you'll need to wait a bit longer, BBC will release the Micro:bit design as open-source, and it'll inevitably find its way to electronics' stores.

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