When talking about the backgrounds of makers in Fablabs and similar locations, you usually hear the same story: that they became absolutely obsessed with building at a very young age. Whether it was Lego, K’NEX, or an uncle with a garage full of tools, we were all somehow infected at an impressionable age. While great for us, it’s actually unfortunate for the STEM field as a whole, as getting young kids interested in anything educational is always a challenge. British media giant BBC has therefore stepped in, and has just unveiled the BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized codeable computer packed with sensors that can be used for countless building projects. To promote STEM education, one of these micro:bits will be shipped to a million schoolchildren aged seven or older across the United Kingdom.
Over the past year or so, a steady flow of rumors have been coming in about the BBC’s plans for a possible credit card-sized microcontroller. Through an extensive coalition involving no less than 29 different organizations from across the educational, commercial and academic worlds, including ARM, Barclays, The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Cannybots, Creative Digital Solutions, Cisco, Code Club, STEMNET, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, various universities, the National STEM Centre and even Samsung and Microsoft, it is now finally here.