In collaboration with its other partners including ARM, Samsung, and Microsoft, BBC developed Micro:bit embedded systems. The aim of the project was to develop small, programmable systems to be delivered to most 7 grade students across the UK. Till date, more than 80 percent schools have received their systems. With its initial target nearing completion, BBC is now trying to make these programmable systems more widely available.
Micro:bit is now available for pre-orders at £13 (roughly equal to $19 at the current exchange rates), and the shipping of the systems is expected in the next few days. These palm-sized programmable computers are manufactured by element14, which is also offering a starter bundle worth £15 including a battery, USB cable, and a few starter programs.
Albeit being quite similar to the Raspberry Pi, the design of the Micro:bit allows it to be more simple and also includes some integrated sensors including accelerometers, magnetometers, Bluetooth, USB port, various I/O ports, and an array of 25 programmable LEDs. The board is also equipped with two programmable buttons and is run by a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU. The board can also be integrated with more powerful microcomputers like Raspberry Pi or Arduino via a 20-pin edge connector.
The aim of this Micro:bit board is to introduce the kids to the world of technology and programming. The BBC site offers quite a few suggestions for the usage of the Micro:bit board including the design of the scoreboard, a musical instrument, etc. Most of the projects need coding skills and thus,
The simpler interface and lower price will definitely give Raspberry Pi a strong competition. Thus far, the Raspberry Pi board is dominating the hobbyist market owing to its competitive pricing.