BBC delivers up to one million micro:bits free to UK school children each employing a Nordic Bluetooth Smart wireless chip

At the heart of the BBC micro:bit is a single nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart wireless technology System-on-Chip (SoC) from Nordic Semiconductor. This integrates the micro:bit’s computer brain (a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 microprocessor) where the school child-created software code runs, and that also allows the micro:bit to both wirelessly communicate with other micro:bits, and sync to or be updated from smartphones, tablets, and computers via Bluetooth – all from a single chip

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that in its official role as BBC micro:bit partner that from yesterday the BBC is delivering up to one million micro:bits free to every 11-12 year old school child in the U.K. (year 7 school child in England and Wales, year 8 in Northern Ireland, and S1 in Scotland).

At a prestigious launch event hosted at the London Stock Exchange yesterday to mark the student delivery of the BBC micro:bit, the BBC announced that following the nationwide rollout, the micro:bit hardware and much of the software will be open-sourced, and BBC micro:bits will be available to buy from a range of retailers.

At the heart of the BBC micro:bit is a single Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 Bluetooth® Smart wireless technology SoC. This integrates the micro:bit’s computer ‘brain’ (a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 microprocessor) where the school child-created software code runs, and that also allows the micro:bit to both wirelessly communicate with other micro:bits, and sync to or be updated from smartphones, tablets, and computers via Bluetooth – all from a single chip.

Nordic Semiconductor pioneered the development of ultra low power wireless during the early 2000s, and later became a key contributor in the creation and evolution of the ultra low power Bluetooth Smart version of Bluetooth wireless technology that can run from small batteries such as watch batteries for months to years.

Since then Nordic has worked tirelessly to continually define and re-define the leading edge of the ultra low power wireless market and in particular to make it ever more accessible, simple, and open to the widest number of people, including for the first time those from a non-professional or non-electronics engineering background.

“The BBC Microcomputer started me on my journey towards a career in technology and the BBC micro:bit will have the same effect on children receiving their devices from today,” said Simon Segars, CEO of ARM. “The ability to code is now as important as grammar and mathematics skills and it can unlock important new career options. I can easily imagine a new wave of design entrepreneurs looking back and citing today as the day their passion for technology began.”

“This is why Nordic Semiconductor is proud to be a BBC micro:bit partner and is supplying the ultra low power Bluetooth chips with embedded ARM Cortex microprocessors employed on every micro:bit,” comments Svenn-Tore Larsen, CEO of Nordic Semiconductor.

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