KidBright32 Board is Thailand’s BBC Micro:Bit Equivalent

Orange Pi Development Boards

BBC Micro:Bit board was first announced in July 2015. Designed for STEM education, the board was then offered to UK schools in March 2016, and a few months later UK store would start selling it worldwide. It’s now available pretty much anywhere, and you can likely find it in a local store or online.

The Thai government must have seen this, and thought to themselves “If the British can do it, we can do it too!”, as the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) part of Thailand’s Ministry of Science and Technology designed KidBright32 board and courses to teach STEM to Thai students.

KidBright 32
KidBright32 Board – Image Source: Somboon on Facebook

The board is based on Espressif Systems ESP32-WROOM-32 WiFI and Bluetooth module, and comes with large holes for power (5V/GND) and 6 digital inputs/outputs,  smaller through holes for I2C and more I/Os, as well as an I2C header. We’ll also find some LEDs, two dot matrix LED displays, three buttons, a buzzer, an RTC, a light sensor, and a temperature sensor. The board is powered via a micro USB port, which should also be used for programming, and a USB host port. You can check out the schematics (PDF) for more details.

KidBright32 - Thailand ESP32 STEM Board

KidBright32 board is manufactured by Gravitech, which seems to be  company to go to if you plan to manufacture this kind of board in Thailand, as I’ve seen several other designs manufactured by the Gravitech.

Just having a board is not sufficient for teaching STEAM, so various courses / tutorials / lessons have been made available on KidBright website (in Thai language), and  KidBright32 board is programmed using visual programming in KidBright IDE, heavily inspired from Scratch, and working in Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. You’ll find KidBright github account with more resources, although some are closed source including KidBright IDE. If you somehow got hold of the board, and you find visual programming is not for you after all, KidBrght32 is also supported in Arduino core for ESP32.

If you are in Thailand, you can purchase the board for 600 Baht ($18), or one of the Starter/LED/Master packs for 1,150 Baht ($34.5) to 3,399 Bath ($102). Those promotional prices are valid  until the 8th of August.

KidBright Master Pack
KidBright Master Pack
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PuceBaboon
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Nice board …lucky Thai kids!

For those of us who don’t know, how does that $18 price translate into real-world affordability for normal Thai families? Will working class kids be able to afford it?