The original BBC micro:bit educational board was launched in July 2015 with a Nordic nRF51822 Arm Cortex-M0 MCU @ 16 MHz providing Bluetooth LE connectivity, a few I/Os, some buttons, and a LED matrix acting as a small display.
The British company has now launched a new update with BBC micro:bit v2 with the same form factor, but equipped with a more powerful Nordic Semi nRF52833 Bluetooth 5.1 Arm Cortex-M4 MCU clocked at 64 MHz and adding a microphone and a speaker.
BBC micro:bit v2 specifications:
- Wireless MCU – Nordic Semi nRF52833 Arm Cortex-M4 MCU clocked at 64 MHz with 128 KB RAM, 512 KB flash, Bluetooth 5.1 LE connectivity
- “Display” – 25x red LED indicator lights in a 5×5 matrix
- USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming via NXP Kinetis KL27Z Cortex-M0+ microcontroller
- Audio – Built-in MEMS microphone and speaker
- 25 pins on edge connector with 4 dedicated GPIO, PWM, I2C, SPI etc…
- 5x rings for 3V, GND, and 3 GPIOs
- Sensors – Compass, magnetometer, accelerometer, on-chip temperature sensor
- Misc – 2x user A/B buttons, 1x reset/power button, touch-sensitive logo
- Power – 5V via USB, 3V via edge connector, or battery port to connect two AAA batteries
- Dimensions – 5 x 4 cm
The board also got some smaller updates like a touch-sensitive logo, and the MCU handling the USB port has been changed from Kinetis KL26Z to KL27Z. The new board remains software, electrically, and mechanically compatible with the original version of the board, so existing projects should just work out of the box with the v2 board.
BBC micro:bit v2 board still targets the education market, and lets students learn to program with C++, MakeCode, Python, or Scratch. The company added some example projects making use of the new hardware for example the bumblebee demo using the motion sensor to adjust the frequency, tempo, and volume of the board’s sound.
The BBC also plans to add AI and ML projects leveraging the faster microcontroller sometimes in 2021.
BBC micro:bit v2 price remains the same at $15. The board will be available on November 1st, and can currently be pre-ordered on Seeed Studio. Eventually, you should be able to purchase the new micro:bit board via other distributors such as Amazon. More details may be found on the official website.