The BBC Microbit, a hacking device for kids, finally made it into U.K. schools last week. The BBC is giving away 1 million kits to school kids, free, one for every 11- and 12-year-old in the land.
The basic Microbit is a pocket-sized computer circuit board, with USB, Bluetooth, accelerometer, temperature and moisture sensors. In short, it’s like the guts of a smartphone, only it has no screen, and it’s designed to be hooked up to all kinds of other devices. The idea is that kids can learn to build computer-based hardware projects the way you and I learned to build things out of wood, metal, plastic, and cardboard when we were in school. It was made by the BBC in partnership with U.K. startup Technology Will Save Us.
“We are trying to show kids that hacking and coding can be as much fun as picking up a paint brush, or making something out of wood or metal,” Bethany Koby, Technology Will Save Us CEO, told Co.Exist last year
Kids can hook up anything to the devices, but there are also kits, which come with everything (except the Microbit itself) needed to build, say, a fruit-powered battery or a turn it into a musical instrument. There are even projects that let kids tie in items printed in a 3-D printer, if they or the school has access to one.
The whole project is designed to be as accessible as possible and also to teach kids to take control of the modern technological world around them.
“Most consumer electronics are ‘black boxes’ and do not invite us in to fix and modify/customize,” Koby told us. “So most young people are completely unfamiliar with the relationship between technology and what actually makes it work.”
The Microbits will belong to the kids. They can keep them, and do what they like with them. And older nerds are in luck too. The BBC will sell the kits to the public, and the software that the Microbit uses will be open-sourced.
All Images: via BBC