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BBC micro:bit will inspire UK school children towards tech careers

22 March 2016

The BBC micro:bit can have the same impact the BBC Microcomputer had in the 1980s, by instilling a passion for coding in British school children.

Image courtesy of BBC

This is according to ARM, NXP and Nordic. The pocket-sized computers featuring ARM-based NXP microprocessors and Nordic Bluetooth chips will be in the hands of thousands of 11-12 year old children from today as one million devices start arriving in UK schools. The initiative aims to inspire digital creativity in a new generation of innovators pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related careers.

“The BBC Micro started me on my journey towards a career in technology and the BBC micro:bit can have the same effect on children receiving their devices from today,” said Simon Segars, CEO of ARM. “The ability to code is now as important as grammar and mathematics skills and it can unlock important new career options. I can easily imagine a new wave of design entrepreneurs looking back and citing today as the day their passion for technology began.”

“Children seem to love the high-tech devices they use every day but perhaps they don’t always aspire to one day design their own products,” said Svenn Tore Larsen, CEO of Nordic Semiconductor. “With the Nordic nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart SoC providing the connectivity for the micro:bit, we are helping to change that by enabling young people to engage with smart technologies and learn valuable new coding skills from a young age. The chip has an ARM Cortex-M0 core at its heart, connecting micro:bits to each other and to the wider world.”

“This is a proud moment in the advancement of technology and education,” said Rick Clemmer, CEO of NXP. “We’re inspiring new secure connections for the smarter world by joining with the BBC and our industry partners in this program. Together, everyone involved in the BBC micro:bits initiative is truly stimulating innovation, motivating the next generation of technologists, scientists and entrepreneurs in their pursuit of a better future.”

Demonstration:

Please visit ARM’s YouTube channel to see Jonny Austin, technical lead for ARM on the BBC micro:bit project, staging a juggling demonstration with three micro:bit devices to show a real-world fun application of the technology.

Further information about the BBC micro:bit:

• Enabled by ARM mbed hardware and software development kits and compiler services. 
• Contains an ARM Cortex-M0 based Nordic nRF51822 MCU featuring Bluetooth 4.0 to provide connectivity to billions of connected devices and let children experiment with bringing their projects to the internet of things.
• Features the Cortex-M0+ based Kinetis KL26Z microcontroller designed by NXP, which provides USB connectivity and allows the micro:bit to be programed as simply as placing a file on a USB disk.
• The device has a 25 LED matrix display, a micro USB connector, a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis magnetometer.

Please visit the ARM’s BBC micro:bit page for additional technical information.


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