BBC launches micro:bit, claims it's the 'BBC Micro for the digital age'

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The BBC has officially launched micro:bit, a codeable computer that will be distributed free of charge in October to every child in year 7 or the equivalent across the UK.

The device, part of the BBC's Make It Digital initiative, is intended to build on the heritage of the BBC Micro by inspiring young people to get creative and to develop a new generation of 'inventors and pioneers'.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC sais: "Channelling the spirit of the Micro for the digital age, the BBC micro:bit will inspire a new generation in a defining moment for digital creativity here in the UK. All you need is your curiosity, creativity and imagination – we'll provide the tools. This has the power to be transformative for the UK. The BBC is one of the few organisations in the world that could convene something on this scale, with such an unprecedented partnership at its core."

First conceived by BBC Learning in 2012, micro:bit is the result of a collaboration between 29 partners, including ARM, element14, Freescale, Nordic Semiconductor and Samsung. Measuring 4 x 5cm, the device will be available in a range of colours. It connects to other devices, sensors, kits and objects and is said to be a companion to Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi.

Key features of micro:bit are said to include: 25 red LEDs; two programmable buttons; an accelerometer; a compass; Bluetooth Smart connectivity; and five I/O rings.

Each element of the micro:bit is said to be programmable and support will be available later in the summer via a dedicated website (