The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that introduces you to how software and hardware work together. It has an LED light display, buttons, sensors and many input/output features that, when programmed, let it interact with you and your world.
Learn how to get the micro:bit working, program its features and create your first projects. We’re really excited to announce the launch of the latest BBC micro:bit.
A new version of micro:bit is here
With five million micro:bits already used for teaching digital skills and computational thinking, the updated controller is set to add even more opportunities for learning, exploration and creativity in classrooms.
The latest micro:bit will fit right in to your existing lessons and materials; all the existing MakeCode blocks and MicroPython code will work in the same way as they do on the original board. The previous board will also continue to work just as it did before.
What you need to get you started
- A micro:bit, battery pack with 2 AAA batteries and USB cable
- A computer, phone or tablet with internet access to load the Microsoft MakeCode or Python code editors, or a Raspberry Pi
- For building and making projects, some extra items that are great to have include headphones, crocodile clip leads and conductive materials such as aluminium foil and paper clips.
What you can do with it
With the built-in speaker, microphone and touch sensor on the new micro:bit, there are even more exciting things you can add to your projects.
- Clap hearts: Clap your hands to make the heart beat using the sound sensor
- Bumblebee: Fly your bumblebee to see how motion affects the frequency, tempo and volume of its sound
- Hold the note: Keep singing to make all the LEDs light up
- Mimic: Talk to your micro:bit and listen to it mimic the rhythm of your speech
|Sense and play with sound||The new BBC micro:bit has a built-in microphone and speaker to allow sound-sensing and sound-making without the need to attach another device.|
|Software development and compatibility||The online editors are designed to be really easy to use to program the micro:bit and this will continue for the new features of sound sensing, sound-making and touch.|
The new micro:bit with sound adds a built-in microphone and speaker, as well as an extra touch input button and a power button. Find out more in this video.
Learn how computers work
The micro bit helps you understand how computers work. When you type on your laptop or touch the screen on your phone, you’re using an input device. Inputs allow computers to sense things happening in the real world, so they can act on this and make something happen, usually on an output like a screen or headphones.
In between the input and the output, there is the processor. This takes information from inputs like buttons, and makes something happen on outputs, like playing a song in your headphones.
These videos explain how the micro:bit’s inputs, outputs and processor work just like the ones on your phone or computer:
You tell computers like the micro:bit what to do by giving them instructions. Sets of instructions for computers are called programs. Programs are written in code. A language that both you and the computer can understand.
You can program your controller in the online MakeCode block or Python text editors. This Let’s code page helps you choose the one that’s right for you.
You’ll need either:
- a computer with a web browser and internet access or
- a phone or tablet and this free micro:bit app for MakeCode coding on Android or iOS (iPhone and iPad) mobile devices
When you’ve written your code, you’ll want to connect and transfer it onto the micro:bit.
Connect your micro:bit to your computer or mobile device.
- If you’re using a computer, you need a micro USB cable to connect to your micro:bit to your computer’s USB socket
- If you’re using a phone or tablet, use Bluetooth to connect your micro:bit wirelessly
Transferring your program to your micro:bit
Transferring your program to your controller is called flashing. Because it copies your program into the micro:bit’s flash memory.
Your micro:bit will pause and the yellow LED on the back will blink while your program is being transferred. Once it’s copied across, your program starts running on your micro:bit.
There are two ways to transfer your program from a computer:
- Drag and drop is like copying a downloaded file from your computer to a USB memory stick. It works on any computer.
- Direct flashing sends your program from the code editor direct to your micro:bit. It works on any computer in two popular web browsers.
Drag and drop
When you plug the micro:bit into your computer’s USB socket, it will appear on your computer like a USB memory stick called MICROBIT.
Download your program as a .hex file from the code editor to your computer, usually to your downloads folder. Then drag and drop the .hex file on to the MICROBIT drive.
After you transfer your .hex file, the MICROBIT drive will disconnect and reconnect as the micro:bit resets. The .hex file will not be listed on the MICROBIT drive after this. This is expected. Your micro:bit is not a flash storage device, but your computer shows it as one to make it easy to transfer .hex files.
The videos below show you how it works. Choose your computer type (Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux/Raspberry Pi) to see how it will work for you:
You can send programs direct from the online code editors to your micro:bit without the need to download and copy a .hex file. This is quick and easy. To use direct flashing, you’ll need to use a recent Chrome or Edge web browser that supports webUSB. You may also need to update your micro:bit firmware if you got the device a long time ago. Find out more on this firmware page.
Note: direct flashing is quick and easy, and is great for debugging, but it does not save a copy of your program on your computer. If keeping a copy of your code on your computer or local network drives is important to you, for example for assessing students’ work, you may want to use drag and drop instead, or remind students to download and save a .hex file when they have completed their project.
Transfer from mobile app
To get started on mobile, you need to download the free micro:bit app to your phone or tablet and follow the on-screen instructions. The apps use Bluetooth to transfer your code to your micro:bit, so you need to enable Bluetooth on your phone or tablet.
These videos help you understand how the mobile apps work with your micro:bit.
These sets of projects will show you how to program the LEDs and introduce you to some of the micro:bit’s other features. Each set of projects is designed to build your understanding and confidence progressively, so you can work through them all or simply choose one to get started!
Set 1: Icons and animals
By following this sequence of projects, you’ll learn how to create different images on the micro:bit LEDs by sequencing instructions and using the buttons. You’ll then bring your creations to life using animation and loops.
Light up your micro:bit with love by showing a heart
Make your micro:bit’s heart beat using loops
Animate your own animals on the micro:bit display
Set 2: Emotions badge
Follow this sequence of projects to create an emotion badge using the LEDs, buttons and accelerometer to let others know how you are feeling. First, you’ll program your micro:bit to show happy and sad faces before making them flash and then showing more emotions when your micro:bit is shaken.
Use your micro:bit to express how you’re feeling
Make flashing happy and sad faces
Shake your micro:bit to make a silly face appear
Set 3: Sunshine
Create sunshine on your micro:bit
Make a flashing sunbeam animation
Make your micro:bit light up when the sun comes up
For these full projects and much more visit the Micro:bit site