Miniature drill bit-can it make us digital?

Miniaturedrillbit-canitmakeusdigital?

The BBC plans to give one million children a microcomputer in September.

It's called "microbit, " and it was announced this morning at the launch of "digital manufacturing, " an ambitious project to make all of us more creative with digital technology.

Hearing this, I have some questions, which I think many of you will think of. For example, for what, why should the BBC spend a license fee on it, and why not give the child a raspberry Pi directly?

What is it for?

It's a very simple device, it's actually just a chip with some leds on it. It has a micro USB port and is powered by a watch battery.

By plugging it into a computer, children will be able to program LEDs to flash their names or simple messages.

The prototype I got flashed "I like programming".

But once they do, they have the potential to get into more advanced projects - you can connect sensors and servo-driven motors.

Why is the BBC doing it?

It would be cheap to make, as if no one could tell me how cheap it is -- but one million such devices would add up to a tidy sum. However, microdrills are being designed in partnership with leading technology companies, which bear most of the cost.

The whole idea of the micro-drill and the wider digital manufacturing program is that the BBC works with industrial and educational partners to help build the digital skills needed by the UK.

Why not a Raspberry Pi?

There's a very successful mini computer on the horizon, designed to teach kids to code -- as if it were a raspberry Pi. A few years ago, the people behind it came to me and told me that they wanted it to be the BBC microtelevision of the digital age. But that would be a more costly task, likely to raise competition issues -- a scenario that has never happened.

Now, the BBC has chosen something to supplement rather than replace pi.

"it's really interesting," he said when I called Eben Upton (Eben Upton), the founder of PI, this afternoon.

One thing to remember - microcomputers are still a work in progress. Much remains to be done before september, when it is ready to enter the hands of 1 million schoolchildren. Then we'll see how creative they are with a microcomputer.

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