The BBC Micro:bit has now officially launched after months of delays. The barebones mini-computer is being distributed to 11- and 12-year-olds (Year 7) in the hope of inspiring a new generation to learn to code while they're still young.
Unlike similar machines such as the Raspberry Pi, the Micro:bit has been designed to connect to an existing computer over Bluetooth, meaning that children don't need to rely on a separate mouse and keyboard, but rather a web interface.
It can even be set up to work from an Android device using a dedicated app. The board itself includes a micro USB connector, optional battery connector, Bluetooth LE antenna and a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU running at 16MHz and with 16K of RAM.
Martin Wooley, technical director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, was one of the many people who made this technology possible.
"We’re thrilled to see the BBC Micro:bit officially launched into schools this week, and we can’t wait to see the sort of inventions and applications that will emerge," he said.
"The volume and variety of what can, and will, be created using the Micro:bit will be limited only by the imaginations of the kids in the classrooms.
"We’re eager to monitor this growth, and watch as a new generation of digital pioneers take their first steps to one day taking the IoT in a new and exciting direction."
One million Micro:bits are being sent to teachers for distribution in a tie up between the BBC, ARM and Samsung along with nearly 30 other contributors.
With the use of add-ons, the Micro:bit is a fully fledged IoT device limited only by the skills and imagination of the user.
The device has been delayed twice, once by power supply problems and again for "fine tuning", but it has arrived half a term earlier than planned after prototypes were sent out earlier in the year to help teachers with lesson plans.
The BBC has a website containing a host of projects for kids to try, some in conjunction with BBC programmes such as The Voice.
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