Micro:bit just released a better version of their popular board, micro:bit GO. A pocket-sized computer designed to inspire critical thinking and creativity in children. The micro:bit device is a multifunctional tool that works in lots of different ways when programmed to do so.
Through micro:bit, children are encouraged to explore their ideas while using real code and real computational thinking - as a tool, it provides authentic experiences of the interaction between software and hardware, growing children’s computing knowledge and putting a practical purpose into their studies.
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The micro:bit is Single Board Computer (SBC) that contains an application processor with a variety of on-chip peripherals. Other peripherals are connected to this chip.
An interface processor is connected to the application processor and manages communication via the USB interface, including the drag-and-drop code flashing process. The interface processor does not control any of the peripherals on the board but is connected to the application processor on the internal board I2C bus.
The latest micro:bit supports all features of the original version so there are many cases where a user won’t need to distinguish between the devices; every tutorial or program that already exists today is supported on the latest hardware.
nRF52 Application Processor
The nRF52 application processor is where user programs run. A single, complete application including user code, runtime code and Bluetooth stack is loaded and run directly from on chip flash memory. All user accessible GPIO pins are provided by this processor. There is an onboard 2.4GHz radio peripheral used to provide Bluetooth and custom radio capabilities via an off-chip aerial.
Bluetooth Wireless Communication
The on board 2.4GHz transceiver supports Bluetooth communications via the Nordic S140 SoftDevice, which provides a fully qualified Bluetooth low energy stack. This allows the micro:bit to communicate with a wide range of Bluetooth devices, including smartphones and tablets.
The two buttons on the front of the micro:bit, and the 1 button on the back, are tact momentary push-to-make buttons. The back button is connected to the KL27 interface processor and to the NRF52 processor for system reset purposes. This means that the
application will reset regardless of if it is powered from USB or from battery. Front buttons A and B can be programmed in the user application for any purpose. A and B are debounced by software, which also includes short press, long press, and ‘both A+B’ press detection. Buttons operate in a typical inverted electrical mode, where a pullup resistor ensures a logical ‘1’ when the button is released, and a logical ‘0’ when the button is pressed. Both A and B buttons are connected to GPIO pins that are also accessible on the micro:bit edge connector.
The display is a 5x5 array of LEDs. It is connected to the micro:bit as a 5x5 matrix. Runtime software repeatedly refreshes this matrix at a high speed, such that it is within the user persistence of vision range, and no flicker is detected. This LED matrix is also used to sense ambient light, by repeatedly switching some of the LED drive pins into inputs and sampling the voltage decay time, which is roughly proportional to ambient light levels.
General Purpose Input/Output Pins
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