Getting Started with BBC Micro:Bit
WHAT IS MICRO:BIT?
Micro:bit is a small piece of technology which helps to bring creative ideas, technology and games in our life. It is a tiny, pocket-sized computer which encourages you to learn the basics of programming and coding.
Micro:bit was developed by BBC for use in computer education and was first released in 2015. Micro:bit was inspired by the BBC Micro, which was developed back in the 80s. But it looks nothing like BBC Micro, it is 70 times smaller and 18 times faster. It was given to one million UK year 7 school students for free to introduce technology in their life. This small thing capable of many big things. It’s super easy to use and don’t requires software for its control. The micro: bit can be programmed to do a number of things, it can be programmed to be a fitness tracker, a gaming device, watch, alarm, texting tool, etc.
It is a device of the size of half a credit card with an ARM Cortex-M0 processor. Micro:bit has 25 LED matrix display, two programmable buttons and also a reset button. From the two buttons, you can control your micro:bit and its functionalities. Micro:bit also consists of an on-board compass to find the location and direction. The devices also come with inbuilt accelerometer sensor which can track your movements as well as can control your actions.
It can be powered up either by micro USB or external batteries. Micro:bit comes with the USB cable and a battery holder. The input and output are provided by the 20 pins/strips edge connector and also by 5 ring connectors.
To program the micro:bit you just simply need to connect it to your computer with the help of a USB cable and there is no need of any extra software or any OS installation. There are online editors where you can write your code, save it, download it to your system ( a hex file will be downloaded ) and at last upload it to your micro:bit drive. It will take some moments while uploading the program and you’ll see a yellow LED light blinking. When the blinking stops your program starts working. It is very easy to start with Micro:bit as you don’t require any deep knowledge of programming or computer Science. Micro:bit is basically designed for kids and beginners to inspire them to find their interest in technology. It provides a stepping stone into platforms like Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH MICRO:BIT
- Learn the basics of programming, get started with electronic devices like sensors, LEDs, buttons etc.
- You can make interactive projects using micro:bit like food waste counter, water pollution checker, etc.
- Can use in your daily works like micro:bit can be a watch, timer, alarm, thermometer, etc.
- Can use it as a music machine or as a piano.
- Use the micro:bit a DIY fitness machine which can count your footsteps and also correct your body postures.
- Also used for broadcasting messages or sending message personally.
- A number of games can be made by using micro:bit like the classic snake game,
Stone paper scissors, angry bird and many more games.
HOW TO PROGRAM A MICRO:BIT
The important question arises is how can we use the micro:bit? It can be programmed in Python and Java. But if you are a beginner we will prefer you to use block programming, that is the Microsoft MakeCode. This is not a text-based language, blocks are there you have to just drag those blocks and drop it to the coding space. The primary aim of MakeCode is to introduce programming in a way that is easily approachable. Also to make people comfortable with programming and don’t find programming complex.
MakeCode is an online editor and also has an offline version. It is a combination of a block editor, a language editor, a target simulator and a target code generator.
BASIC MICRO:BIT PROJECTS
- Micro:bit Badges- It is a simple project, we need some batteries, attach it with a safety pin and sew the case to the micro:bit. Program it and your customized digital badge is ready.
- Micro:bit Traffic light- By adding some LEDs, a breadboard and some resistors we can make a perfect Traffic Light.
- Micro:bit STEM:BIT Kit- micro:bit is used in many block toys. With micro:bit and programmable blocks we can make cars, trains, tanks, etc. You can get yourself a micro:bit programmable blocks kit- STEM:BIT KIT from our shop. shop.sb-components.co.uk/products/stem-bit-the-programmable-blocks-kit-for-micro-bit?_pos=2&_sid=139123c9a&_ss=r
- Micro:bit Fitness Step Counter- micro:bit’s accelerometer can be used as the step counter. The number of steps can be displayed on the 5x5 LED matrix screen.
- Micro:bit Games- we can also make different games and enjoy with friends like Rock paper scissor, snake game, coin flipper etc.