BBC gives children mini-computers in Make it Digital scheme

BBC gives children mini-computers in Make it Digital scheme
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It seems that they've decided to go with an embedded computer rather
than a board with a full OS. I think that would make it easier for
schools, with each pupil having their own device plugged into their
usual desktop computer, in their usual computer class, and the teacher
giving a straightforward programming language lesson without having to
worry about the setup of another OS.
Reply to
Dave Farrance
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I think you're right there. The artical has this though:
"The final version will have a Bluetooth link enabling it to be hooked up to other devices such as a Raspberry Pi."
I'm pretty sure that any Raspberry Pi doesn't have Bluetooth "out of the box" ...
Pity they are only making a million and that's it. But I guess there will be clones, it does strike me as a good first step before a Pi, Aurdion, Beaglebone etc.
The pictures show something with a couple of switches, 5 x 5 array of LEDs and a couple of other LEDs. If they are all simply addressable and the device can work without being connected (ie from battery) and has some NV memory so you can program something up, store it, remove from PC, power up and have it run the program stand alone it means you can "do something" with it. The good old, make something rewarding and people (children) will be interested.
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Cheers 
Dave.
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
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I think that already the raspberry pi has moved on from it's initial idea; it's too complicated a full blown unix system for starting out on.
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Bah, and indeed, Humbug
Reply to
Kerr Mudd-John
On Fri, 13 Mar 2015 10:56:51 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice" declaimed the following:
Linked article
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mentions that it uses a button cell (watch battery).
Other than that, I'd put it in the class with a Parallax Propeller QuickStart board
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(although the Propeller's odd synchronous 8-core/no-interrupts architecture may be too confusing for a teaching tool)
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	Wulfraed                 Dennis Lee Bieber         AF6VN 
    wlfraed@ix.netcom.com    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
Reply to
Dennis Lee Bieber
mentions
What? Do you think that BBC thing is even simpler/cheaper than a Parallax STAMP or a PICAXE chip?
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
DF> BBC gives children mini-computers in Make it Digital scheme DF> DF>
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Thanks for posting this Dave ;)
As a child of the 70s/80s I cut my teeth on a BBC B and am really happy to see the BBC back in this educational space again in 2015. Their efforts will really make a difference.
Best, Paul
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    Agency BBS, New Zealand | bbs.geek.nz | telnet: agency.bbs.geek.nz:23
Reply to
Paul Hayton
On Fri, 13 Mar 2015 18:31:24 +0000 (UTC), Martin Gregorie declaimed the following:
Everything is cheaper than a BASIC Stamp these days (does Parallax still make them, or are they just selling off old stock)... A bare Stamp, of the later/faster versions, was around US$70 last I looked. Add a development board and it goes even higher.
The Propeller Quickstart, OTOH, is a whole stand-alone with LEDs (8) and touch-pad switches (also 8) with a Propeller chip, and is under US$50. Add a "human interface board" and you have an SD slot, video/audio outputs, and PS-2 keyboard/mouse jacks (granted, finding PS-2 keyboards and mice are getting more difficult ).
The Propeller was the basis of the badge at Def Con 22 (I was able to take their source code listing [released after the convention, which a co-worker attended -- he had a real badge to play with] and map the I/O directly to the Quickstart)
Of course, for cheapness, in the US... The TI TIVA C 123 probably can't be beat... ARM m4f and stuff for US$13 direct... (the 1294 with Ethernet is $20 -- but Amazon resellers get near $50).
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	Wulfraed                 Dennis Lee Bieber         AF6VN 
    wlfraed@ix.netcom.com    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
Reply to
Dennis Lee Bieber
Mea culpa - I forgot the STAMP price, but think the 'simpler' poi nt is still valid: a BS2 with the free Windows editor/compiler/debugger package was among the nicest and simplest IDEs I've used even if it was restricted to integer BASIC.
can't
I dunno: those sound expensive.
PICAXE chips start at GBP 1.50 for an 8-pin DIL package and end at a massive 28 pin DIP package for GBP 4.49 - all are internally similar to a Parallax STAMP (PIC MPU, integer BASIC interpreter, RAM, EEPROM and i/o ports plus DAC/ADC/timers depending on the chip you pick.
Most PICAXEs support I2C/SPI connections as master or slave so should be easy to connect to an RPi.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
On Sat, 14 Mar 2015 01:06:05 +0000 (UTC), Martin Gregorie declaimed the following:
Raw PIC chips are probably even cheaper -- but one needs breadboards and programmers to start with them.
The TIVA I referenced wasn't just a bare chip... (Though TI have been phasing out the TIVA branding, focusing on just the "TM4" line).
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Technically it's an "evaluation kit", not an end product in its own right (a la Arduino). It actually uses TWO of the same processors on board -- the one mounted skewed in the middle is the one you get to play with; the one near the short edge is preprogrammed to act as the "JTAG" debugger/emulator/programmer of the other. Two buttons (besides reset) and an RGB LED. I still have no idea of what type of project needs 6 32-bit and 6 64-bit timers (each splitable so up to 12 16-bit and 12 32-bit!)
Its big brother
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has the built-in Ethernet, ships with preloaded app (that requires registering with some web site) that sends something like processor temperature to the web site where it can be accessed by anyone. Fewer timers but more I/O (flipping jumpers converts the two on-board UARTs into CAN mode).
TI has a fork of the Arduino IDE called Energia for these kits. The "professional" IDE is Eclipse based (Code Composer Studio) -- and version 5 at least was unrestricted when used with these boards [tied to the onboard emulator] ($500 otherwise, with maybe $100/year subscriptions). I don't know if v6 is still fully free on these boards. The other "free IDEs" (IAR and Keil) are limited to 32KB output (not impressive when the 1294 has 1MB of flash, and even the small one has 256kB (and paid versions are in the $3000 range)
In the US direct from TI, $13 and $20 respectively. A Parallax propeller CHIP is just under that range, but needs all the support environment.
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	Wulfraed                 Dennis Lee Bieber         AF6VN 
    wlfraed@ix.netcom.com    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
Reply to
Dennis Lee Bieber
With luck this will be based on a Cortex M7, with enough RAM to host a ROM'd Python interpreter. The M3/M4 parts are OK Forth and just about OK for Lua, but on-chip full Python needs the 256K RAM that the M7 brings.
Reply to
Tim
On Fri, 03 Apr 2015 13:28:26 +0100, Tim declaimed the following:
Given that the article has the comment
"The BBC does not see Micro Bit as a rival to similar computing devices such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Galileo and Kano, but rather hopes it will act as a "springboard" to these more complex machines"
I wouldn't hold out much hope for an M7 -- after all, if a base Arduino is considered "more complex" (the Due, OTOH, maybe).
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	Wulfraed                 Dennis Lee Bieber         AF6VN 
    wlfraed@ix.netcom.com    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
Reply to
Dennis Lee Bieber
DF> BBC gives children mini-computers in Make it Digital scheme
Someone needs to tell them what a minicomputer is. ;-)
-Andy Ball
Reply to
Andy Ball

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