What is a micro:bit and what can it do?

A micro bit, or micro:bit, is a pocket-sized computer that can be used to introduce you to software and teach you about how some hardware works together. It is typically made up of an LED light display, two buttons, sensors, and many input/output features. That’s why we made this guide to what is micro:bit and what you can do with it.

microbit

More than 2000 schools across the UK benefit from free access to micro bits, and there has been much success in using them to teach children about coding and IT skills. But what can you use a micro bit and how can it benefit you in your wider life? Here are some examples of what a micro bit can do:

Compass

You can utilise the inbuilt magnetometer in a micro:bit to build a complex compass by programming the board to signal when it is pointing north. You can make it even more complex by adding extra compass points or creating a code that makes a noise, making it a more accessible resource for anyone who is visually impaired.

A DIY Fitbit

Staying healthy and keeping fit is important but not all of us can afford the high-profile fitness aids that we see advertised. The micro bit provides a cost-effective alternative as you can program it to count your steps throughout the day or create a digital obstacle course. This can provide you with a DIY version of a ‘Fitbit’.

DIY fitbit

Digital watch

Another intermediate task is programming a micro bit to act as a digital watch or brooch that can display a time or message. A stopwatch feature can also be added by using the touch logo sensor as an extra button and as you stop and start it, it will keep adding to the time just like a real stopwatch.

Digital egg timer

You can use your micro bit to cook the perfect eggs at breakfast using the above stopwatch feature. Or you can attach the micro bit to a thermometer to get the perfect temperature. This can be applied to all manner of cooking and prevent your food from becoming under or overcooked.

Gardening tool

When you place sensors into the soil, you can connect a micro bit to them and make your own gardening software, and it will then communicate back to you whether the plant is thriving. It uses very simple communication – a happy face is present when the plant is happy and then a frowning face is present when it requires a drink.

Music

You can connect a micro bit to your phone and control your music apps. From selecting and skipping songs, you can also compose a piece of music or even use a banana as a musical keyboard.

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