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Programming the BBC micro:bit

The BBC micro:bit is a small embedded system that can be used to help teach programming. Initially provided to school children in the UK in 2016, there is now a newer MicroBit version 2 with extra features.

BBC microbit (front view)BBC micro:bit (rear view)

It is not possible to program directly on the micro:bit. Instead a program is created on another computer and then uploaded to the micro:bit using a USB cable or wirelessly using BlueTooth.

There are a number of different programming languages supported, including Microsoft Block Editor and MicroPython. The code can be create in a webbrowser or through a number of different IDEs. The code is then downloaded as an executable or can be transferred directly to the micro:bit.

Below is a presentation I gave to STEM Ambassadors explaining about the micro:bit

As well as programming the micro:bit is a good platform for physical computing. It includes 3 input/output terminals that can be connected with crocodile clips and more if using an add-on connector, or breakout board. In addition to the example in the above presentation I have used the micro:bit to control disco lights.

I have also used the built in accelerometer to control a Raspberry Pi based robot. The micro:bit robot controller source code is available on github, although there is no error checking included so it does sometimes get confused. You can see the Robot in action here.

Micro:bit Version 2

There's now a new version 2 of the Micro:bit. It's still the same basic design, but now includes more memory, a touch sensor and a built in speaker along with some other changes. These are explained in the video below.

Micro:bit Programming Examples

These are some of the examples and projects I've made using the microbit

More information

Blog links and videos on programming

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