Author Topic: BBC Micro:Bit  (Read 16549 times)

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Offline fcb

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BBC Micro:Bit
« on: July 07, 2015, 02:09:07 pm »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/microbit/partners

Any idea what microcontroller they are using?
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Offline neslekkim

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 02:26:10 pm »
the article said Nordic Semidonductor, and another article said nRF51822 -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/07/07/bbc-micro-bit-educational-board-features-an-arm-cortex-m0-mcu/
 

Offline Ribster

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 12:14:42 am »
This is a good presentation, imo.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 08:27:58 am »
Given that there will be finders all over the ICs when it is being used normally, I wonder if static damage will be an issue.
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Offline mikerj

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 08:45:33 am »
I'm not convinced that encouraging the use of crocodile clips on the edge connector is a great idea on this design.  A tiny slip of the clip and it will short out the large pad to one of the smaller fingers adjacent to it.
 

Offline Macbeth

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 08:50:25 am »
Given that there will be finders all over the ICs when it is being used normally, I wonder if static damage will be an issue.
finders? oh, you mean like fish finders...
 

Offline Macbeth

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 09:00:23 am »
I'm not convinced that encouraging the use of crocodile clips on the edge connector is a great idea on this design.  A tiny slip of the clip and it will short out the large pad to one of the smaller fingers adjacent to it.
I'm pretty sure that won't matter as they are just low voltage I/O pins and not intended to be used unless plugged into a bread board or docking station. Something for older kids to play with.
 

Offline Ribster

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 11:31:25 am »
I'm not convinced that encouraging the use of crocodile clips on the edge connector is a great idea on this design.  A tiny slip of the clip and it will short out the large pad to one of the smaller fingers adjacent to it.

I think that one is okay.
I miss some .1" headers for easy breadboarding..
That would be nice for the beginners..
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Offline Brutte

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 03:11:59 pm »
[rant]Designed without target audience in mind.
90% of ill artistic vision and 10% of engineering effort.

Because of some reason they made it small. Now what are kids supposed to do with that, without a laboratory equipment? Does it come with some base-board with edge connector that mates with the PCB?

Their idea was to make IOs crockodile-friendly??  |O
Does it come with a bunch of clips at least?

Also loading that PCB with components on both sides prohibits its use in a flat desk environment, without the easy option to stick it with a tape. Not mentioning double sided is much more expensive in production and testing.

Next silly thing is that the prone for break-off micro-USB in the SMD version is used  :palm:

I like the idea this is a combined global effort of the companies but I seriously doubt a teenager is going to like an embedded C or ARM assembler. I'd suggest something easier, higher level language that can run on both x86 and the thingy, like java or maybe even MATLAB/Simulink-ish (graphical programming).
Mind debugging CM0 is not a trivial task so maybe the board is intended to serve only as simple BLE IO card and custom code is executed on a remote x86 host..

 

Offline Yago

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 05:56:36 pm »
The design has been changed from the ones here, perhaps they were prototypes.
This is the image I saw:


 

Offline Brutte

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 06:20:42 pm »
This one looks TQFP44, ATMega U4 series, Teensy-like.
BBC story, 13.03.2015.
 

Offline Muxr

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 09:23:26 pm »
I think this is more meant to teach practical programming. Whereas Arduino is more electronics oriented. Them including bluetooth, simple LED display and goodies like accelerometers on board tells me it's supposed to mainly just be controlled in software. The edge connector seems primarily for premade addons and breakouts.

I'd like to play with one of these, but my main question is, how do I get my hands on one?  :-DD
 

Offline Yago

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2015, 11:33:29 am »

I'd like to play with one of these, but my main question is, how do I get my hands on one?  :-DD

The plan is to give a million these free to school children in UK in autum.
Sit on EBay and await the thousands of them that hit there instantly?
 

Offline fcb

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 12:01:22 pm »
1 Million this September...

Be interesting to see how it's being funded (license fee?).
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Online wraper

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2015, 12:14:36 pm »
1 Million this September...

Be interesting to see how it's being funded (license fee?).
For BBC which is burning billions of tax payer money every year, few million quid for cheapo PCb is nothing.
 

Offline neslekkim

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2015, 12:26:03 pm »
If someone read the article in the first post, it also states that most of the parts are donated..
 

Offline rolycat

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2015, 01:02:34 pm »
I'd like to play with one of these, but my main question is, how do I get my hands on one?  :-DD

From the Legacy page of the BBC media site:

Additional BBC micro:bits to be commercially available in the UK and internationally through various outlets in late 2015. These devices will be available for pre-order and will be distributed toward end of this year. The revenue generated from the licensing of the trademark will enable the creation, and ongoing support, of a longer term charitable legacy for the micro:bit partnership.

Exact pricing and availability will be confirmed soon.
 

Offline Muxr

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2015, 02:40:10 pm »
Thanks Rolycat.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2015, 06:24:22 pm »
I like the idea this is a combined global effort of the companies but I seriously doubt a teenager is going to like an embedded C or ARM assembler. I'd suggest something easier, higher level language that can run on both x86 and the thingy, like java or maybe even MATLAB/Simulink-ish (graphical programming).
Mind debugging CM0 is not a trivial task so maybe the board is intended to serve only as simple BLE IO card and custom code is executed on a remote x86 host..

The software platform is TouchDevelop https://www.touchdevelop.com/microbit which runs on top of mbed.
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Offline neslekkim

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2015, 07:36:15 pm »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro:bit

The device will support a number of different software development languages including JavaScript, Blockly, Python, and C++.[1][14] There are two code editors used with the Micro Bit, Microsoft Block Editor, intended for younger users and the Microsoft TouchDevelop environment.[17] The Microsoft TouchDevelop platform, is a web-based tool which will allow the Micro Bit to be programmed using smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers.[1]
 

Offline westfw

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2015, 03:09:16 am »
I wonder if the arduino vs arduino thing had anything to do with the switch from Atmel AVR to ARM architecture for the BBC Micro?  Or the other way around: the thought of 1e6 units/y could have precipitated "issues" in the arduino supply world...
 

Offline mikerj

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2015, 10:40:45 am »
I'm not convinced that encouraging the use of crocodile clips on the edge connector is a great idea on this design.  A tiny slip of the clip and it will short out the large pad to one of the smaller fingers adjacent to it.
I'm pretty sure that won't matter as they are just low voltage I/O pins and not intended to be used unless plugged into a bread board or docking station. Something for older kids to play with.

If there is no external protection then connecting a 3.3v supply straight into a low digital output is not a great plan.  It might survive or it might not.  Possibly they have cunningly arranged the connector so the contacts adjacent to the large ones are all inputs?
 

Offline varesa

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2015, 04:32:14 am »
I'm not convinced that encouraging the use of crocodile clips on the edge connector is a great idea on this design.  A tiny slip of the clip and it will short out the large pad to one of the smaller fingers adjacent to it.
I'm pretty sure that won't matter as they are just low voltage I/O pins and not intended to be used unless plugged into a bread board or docking station. Something for older kids to play with.

If there is no external protection then connecting a 3.3v supply straight into a low digital output is not a great plan.  It might survive or it might not.  Possibly they have cunningly arranged the connector so the contacts adjacent to the large ones are all inputs?

I would expect the IO to be configurable,  input by default
 

Offline janekm

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2015, 05:11:40 am »
[rant]Designed without target audience in mind.
90% of ill artistic vision and 10% of engineering effort.

Because of some reason they made it small. Now what are kids supposed to do with that, without a laboratory equipment? Does it come with some base-board with edge connector that mates with the PCB?

Their idea was to make IOs crockodile-friendly??  |O
Does it come with a bunch of clips at least?

Also loading that PCB with components on both sides prohibits its use in a flat desk environment, without the easy option to stick it with a tape. Not mentioning double sided is much more expensive in production and testing.

Next silly thing is that the prone for break-off micro-USB in the SMD version is used  :palm:

I like the idea this is a combined global effort of the companies but I seriously doubt a teenager is going to like an embedded C or ARM assembler. I'd suggest something easier, higher level language that can run on both x86 and the thingy, like java or maybe even MATLAB/Simulink-ish (graphical programming).
Mind debugging CM0 is not a trivial task so maybe the board is intended to serve only as simple BLE IO card and custom code is executed on a remote x86 host..

I experienced the previous version of this project (the bug-like one with the LED matrix) being end-user tested with literally thousands of young children (from 2-16 or so) last year during a summer festival in the UK (and each kid got to take their's home, which is just an awesome thing to do with a pre-release product like that).

I'd wager they have a half-decent idea of what works with children by now, and certainly know about USB connectors breaking off ;) (the previous prototype one used a very sturdy one from what I recall)

They're going to use the "TouchDevelop" environment which will compile down to the mbed libraries, and that's a really awesome solution for this kind of project really. It means you can start with a really simple "block-based" environment, progress to the "pseudo-code style" version, and finally start modifying the generated mbed code (which is a sort of Arduino-like set of libraries for ARM cores).

The fact that it includes Bluetooth LE with a decent set of peripherals (Magnetometer, Accelerometer, LEDs) is just fantastic. If even 1% of the children reached by the project get into it and develop a deeper interest in embedded development, it will have a true impact in the UK. What more can we ask for?
 
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: BBC Micro:Bit
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2015, 08:32:45 am »
If there is no external protection then connecting a 3.3v supply straight into a low digital output is not a great plan.  It might survive or it might not.  Possibly they have cunningly arranged the connector so the contacts adjacent to the large ones are all inputs?

It is probably possible to provide useful protection to i/o against that sort of thing.

I'm more concerned about fingers "full of static" directly touching the IC leads.That's inevitable given the form factor and where buttons are.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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