BBC micro:bit – a new board for learning electronics

BBC microbit a new board for learning electronics


After Raspberry Pi, the very famous board created for educational purposes in the United Kingdom, but which was then also used in many other areas, the time has come for the introduction of BBC micro:bit.he BBC, the company that has always been in the forefront of education and learning, has invested in this project, thus introducing itself into this new world of IoT and embedded electronics.In this article we will know in detail this small card, its features and some applications.

BBC microbit a new educational board

BBC micro:bit

The BBC micro:bit board was designed and implemented in the UK in 2016 as an educational platform for kids. Born from the collaboration between the BBC and 29 other companies, today it is considered as the most ambitious and innovative project of the BBC, a company which is always in the forefront in the field of education and learning.

BBC micro:bit

This board is available in a different colors. Its dimensions are really small (4×5 cm) but it is certainly not to be underestimated.In fact, many integrated modules and sensors are integrated within it, including:

  • accelerometer
  • compass
  • Bluetooth
  • LED matrix
  • 2 buttons
  • USB port

Technical features

A 5×5 LED matrix has been installed on the back side of the BBC micro:bit board. Using this feature you can display  display scrolling messages, create games and combinations of light.Also there are two programmable buttons to manage the event of their pressure.

BBC micro:bit rear
Back side of BBC micro:bit board

Instead on the upper side of the board are integrated several sensors, including an accelerometer that combined with the compass sensor, allow you to detect any type of movement of the card in space.

BBC micro:bit front
Front side of the BBC micro:bit board

You can also see a USB port, a power connector and a reset button.

As for the pinout, this board has five hole on the circuit as connections, corresponding to as many input and output (I / O) ports and among them many other pins.

pinout di BBC micro:bit
BBC micro:bit pinout

Finally, the most important technology for this card is Bluetooth Smart Technology, which allows it to connect to all devices that implement this technology, such as smart phones, tablets, PCs, televisions, DVD players and other home appliances.

BBC micro:bit box
The BBC micro:bit box

Programmable in a few seconds

The BBC micro:bit board is born for educational purposes and therefore it is designed to be easy to use and to make learning faster and more fun.

So its programming must also be made in order to satisfy all the needs at all levels.So there are different programming systems depending on the levels (and certainly on the age) of the user.Therefore, various development environments have been developed in this regard:

  • Microsoft MakeCode
  • MicroPython
  • Arduino IDE

The first two development environments (IDE) are available online at ,, while the last one can be downloaded from the website.

At the simplest level BBC micro: bit can be programmed with Microsoft MakeCode a visual JavaScrit editor (free and running online) that allows you to write lines of code as if they were pieces of a puzzle. The commands in JavaScript correspond to cards that can be assembled between them only by responding to certain constructs. So with this IDE the programming is very visual and intuitive.

Microsoft MakeCode - Visual JavaScript editor
Microsoft MakeCode – Visual JavaScript editor

At a higher level there is MicroPython, another IDE that uses Python as language for programming the BBC micro: bit board.

micropython ide for microbit
micropython ide for microbit

The latest development environment is Arduino IDE. This environment is not officially supported by the BBC, but Adafruit has developed several tutorials showing how to use it, install it and connect it, along with a long series of ready-made sample sketches. For this programming, however, it is necessary to use the NRF5x board. All information on this can be found on the Adafruit website ( see here).

Arduino ide for microbit
Arduino ide for microbit


In this article you have seen a quick overview on the BBC micro:bit board proposed by the BBC. It is still at the first approach, since it was only released last year in the United Kingdom and it will be available for the italian market maybe the next week of this month (December 2017). We will see in the following year if it will be successful and taken on the public.


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