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BBC Micro Bit unveiled as free Raspberry Pi rival

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The BBC has shown off the final version of the Micro Bit, a Raspberry Pi 2-style computer that will be given as a freebie to one million UK schoolchildren this October.

The miniature computer, which measures 4 x 5cm, has been created to increase interest in coding amongst youngsters.

It features an ARM-built processor, a USB port, a compass, an accelerometer, Bluetooth antenna, motion-sensor and two physical buttons.

There are also 25 LED lights, which can be programmed to flash different messages and patterns. The input-output rings allow you to connect it to other devices too.

The BBC hopes the Micro Bit will encourage more children to learn how to program computers.

It says the device can be used to help create a wide range of gadgets, including metal detectors, video game controllers and spirit levels.

The technology it’s built on will be open source.

"We all know there's a critical and growing digital skills gap in this country and that's why it's so important that we come together and do something about it," said BBC director general Tony Hall.

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Previously demonstrated in March, the finished article is slightly different to the prototype, in that it requires a bulkier battery pack.

If you fancy the Micro Bit but don’t happen to be in Year 7, the BBC has confirmed that it will become available to a wider audience before the turn of the year.

jhoger

July 7, 2015, 8:11 pm

More of a I/O peripheral. It's an embedded controller with some I/O, not a computer as most people think of it. Not a Pi rival.

archimedes

July 7, 2015, 8:27 pm

Every Year 7 child already has a computer in his/her pocket, it's called a "mobile phone".

The BBC would have done better to create and give away a coding or app-making tool for Android and iOS, something similar to Scratch which a lot of kids learn on.

I would think less than 1% of kids are interested in a piece of hardware, even if it's free. Happy to be proved wrong though. I have a child entering Year 7 in September.

John

July 27, 2015, 6:50 am

Great stuff.

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