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Seven outstanding microbit projects


Micro-drill-a small computer that powers the Internet connection project-is being distributed to thousands of British students.

As part of the BBC initiative, the device is made for children aged seven (11 to 12) and the same age.

Microsoft, Samsung, ARM and several other organizations that teach coding to teenagers are also involved.

The launch will be later than originally planned in this school year.

But there is no doubt that people's enthusiasm for computers has been dampened.

Unlike other budget computers - such as the Raspberry Pi - the machine is meant to be programmed via the web, rather than being connected to a keyboard and screen of its own.

So, what can it do?

As a stand-alone device, it can in turn flash its led lights and read from several built-in sensors, but when added to other hardware the possibilities are unlimited.

Here are seven projects done by some people who were exposed to the technology earlier.

Sent into the stratosphere

The number of the first microsites is very limited. But that didn't stop a school from firing copies more than 32 kilometers (20 miles) into the air.

A student at Rishworth School in West Yorkshire wrote a program that uses a thermal sensor to record temperature changes and displays the current readings on the LED of a computer. Then, her classmates tied the kit to a helium balloon and let it fly upwards.

"Her code measured the temperature of the stratosphere, which was great," recalled Peter Bell, the teacher in charge.

"The children are very interested in the whole project. "

But he added that anyone who wants to repeat this move should not be taken lightly.

"We have to get approval from the Civil Aviation Administration and get a two-hour launch window," he explained. "

"At the time of the descent, it initially traveled at 180 miles per hour (290 km/h) for 14 seconds.

At one point, the National Air Traffic Service changed the course of all aircraft around Nottingham because there was basically one missile heading for airspace, but when the parachute reached the atmosphere there was enough air to hit it and it opened. ”

The equipment was later found in a farmer's field.

Big screen

The tiny drill is designed to be small enough to fit in a child's pocket. So, trying to turn them into a giant display board seems a little slow.

Even so, Kitronik, an electronic parts supplier who participated in the micro-scale project, challenged himself with the 1,009 prototypes he obtained.

The company's executives wrote three programs using Microsoft's Touch Developer web interface:

First, save the image data on the "master" microstop and convert it to a message sent to another computer

The second is to determine which data should be sent to each of the 40-column computers arranged in the display

The third is to transfer image data from one microbit to another after a short delay so that the image seems to scroll on the screen.

"I realized early on that the biggest challenge of the project wasn't writing three different versions of the code -- it took a few days, though, to put together a screen, " Jeff Hampson recalls.

"That is why we have gathered a team of volunteers to help complete all this."

The project, which required 230m (755ft) of wires and 5000 bolts to complete, was unveiled at Bett Tech in January.

Autism tool

Earlier this year, six students at a London high school came up with the idea of using micro bit to help people with autism identify other people's emotional states as part of a one-day coding challenge.

People with the condition may have difficulty reading facial expressions and responding appropriately because of their disability.

The team coded the computer so that users could scroll through a series of face images showing different emotions displayed by light-emitting diodes.

When they find a match, they can press another button, and the led displays the image as if it were "happy" , "sad" or "angry" .

"I think it's great for these students to solve potential difficulties and complex problems such as disability and autism," said Holly Marguerite of the School of Engineering and Technology, who organized the Faraday Project.

"I also think it might be a great collaborative activity so that students with or without autism can (further) collaborate to develop this product."

"One thing that surprised me was that students had a clear understanding of where coding is in the world and how coding can improve and improve their lives.

Hand-to-eye co-ordination

Arm's internal micro demo is intentionally simple.

The chip creator's processor architecture is used by a microcomputer. He asked a member of the team to tamper with three devices and stream data from the acceleration sensor to the Internet via Bluetooth link.

To do this, they took advantage of Google's new eddy stone protocol and recorded 200 readings per second via a web application. This information is used to create a chart that tracks the rate of acceleration and deceleration per microbit.

"We can detect when it falls in the program running on the micro drill bit, which means we can know how long it has fallen and how high we threw it," explained Johnny Austin, one of the engineers involved.

"so, if my juggling is very uneven, you may see that, in fact, for every three throws, I will not throw a microbit almost as high, which will be represented by a much flatter peak on the chart."

In theory, he added, it should be possible to spot patterns that could help a juggler-in-training identify problems with their technique.

Heading North

Students at Eastlea Community School in London have come up with the idea of using a tiny bit to keep a small plane in orbit towards the North Pole.

The computer is programmed to trigger one of the two motors every time the vehicle deviates from the route, so that it can return to its destination.

Their teacher, Stevie Richards, said: "The students came up with a workable proof of concept, but they made Gondola a little too heavy. ".

"Air traffic control is also a problem."

But, he added, the class has solved these problems leisurely and is now developing a micro-bit-operated paddle ship that will use solar and wind energy.

Mr Richards, who has previously taught at Raspberry Pi, another low-cost british computer, says he believes microbits are better suited to young people.

He explained, it's designed at a lower level, so that kids can understand the concepts you're trying to understand more quickly.

"In raspberry sauce, there are many things that have no direct meaning. Therefore, I think the micro drill bit will become a good stepping stone, allowing young children to participate before they want to do more serious projects, which need something like pi. "

Racing cars

The detector dog project, dubbed Florida, attempts to set a new land speed record of more than 1,000 mph (1,609 kph) .

Since the beginning of January, hundreds of children have been invited to carve their own car models with foam and explode along the track with black powder rockets installed at their tails.

The computer is installed internally to measure the maximum speed, average speed and thrust changes of the rocket vehicle.

"This is something teachers are generally reluctant to do because it involves a lot of risk assessment, " says Graeme Lawrie, co-organizer and director of the Innovation Project at sevenoaks school in Kent.

"But these amazing factors are few and far between. They provide children with inspiration and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

As if that weren't enough incentive to race, the team that built the fastest car, was promised the chance to add their names to the rear wing of the bloodhound supersonic.

Machine music

Not all early Micro Bit projects were targeted at children or involved in coding.

Dr Rebecca Fibrink got a device as part of her study of computer music at Goldsmith College, University of London.

The instructor uses a program called Wekinator, which teaches the computer to recognize certain inputs and map them to different sounds.

By connecting a micro bit, she was able to create music to distort, tilt and draw shapes in front of her with a micro computer.

"One example I made was a simple drum machine, and I used tilt to control it," she told the BBC.

"I can also use it to recognize the gestures I draw in the air and to create more experimental sounds.

"Now is a very exciting time, because there are more and more relatively cheap sensing platforms, and micro-drills are a good way to start building things."