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BBC Micro:bit To Get New Update

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The BBC micro:bit ‘mini computer’ that has been given to school children has had it’s first major update since its launch in 2016, to include artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning support, a new microphone and speaker.


BBC News reports that it was initially launched as part of the BBC ‘Make It Digital’ campaign, and four years later five million of the units have been used by schools and children all around the world.


Although no longer run by the BBC, the project was taken over by the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, a non-profit group set up to make coding more accessible. 


The new microphone and speaker can be used for anything from listening out for a doorbell sound to playing back voice recordings, and the device will also include a touchpad sensor that can count how many times a fly lands on the pad.


There are other sensors on the device including light, magnetism, and temperature, so a wider range of applications can be built.


Micro Bit Educational Foundation said the upgrades were in response to requests from teachers around the world.


The purpose of the [micro:bit] is to help children unlock their creative potential and learn how to shape the world around them,” Gareth Stockdale, chief executive of the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, told BBC News.


The new version of the palm-sized device combines all the same features of the original and extra features, such as Bluetooth connectivity to enhance learning in the classroom. The micro:bit is a circuit board which also has 25 LED lights that can be programmed to show shapes, numbers and letters.


It is expected to be available from the middle of November, with prices starting at £11.50.


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