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BBC Backs Dr Who Themed Coding Platform

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Following on from the recently upgraded BBC micro:bit, the Beeb has put its name on another new coding platform, the ‘HiFive Inventor’, which is also licensed to feature BBC’s Dr Who brand, and with Jodie Whittaker, the thirteenth Doctor, lending her voice to the platform.

Tech Radar reports that the hand-shaped HiFive, powered by a SiFive processor built around from a Risc-V core, has been developed by US educational coding firm Tynker, and is available (just in time for Christmas!) from BBC Shop, Amazon and Sheffield-based Pimoroni amongst others.

Tynker CEO Krishna Vedati said: “The BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor is designed to spark kids’ curiosity in physical computing as they learn to program the Internet of Things using block-coding and MicroPython.”

The unit comes in a hand-shaped enclosure with a matrix of LEDs on the front and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Students can read data from the on-board suite of sensors and program on-device decisions to display results on a colourful LED-matrix display.

It comes with an illuminated USB cable, battery pack, and edge connectors to allow for expandability to a range of additional sensors and devices.

Narrated by Jodie Whittaker, students are taken on intergalactic journeys, and through challenges like learning to code and pilot an alien spaceship, control a robot and program an exotic musical instrument.

The on-board sensors include an accelerometer for gesture sensing, which can detect up, down, left, and right, face up and face down, freefall and shaking motions, a magnetometer for compass-like use, an ambient light sensor, and a temperature sensor which can detect a range of -40ºC to 85ºC.

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