The BBC micro:bit computer has been available in the UK since March this year. It's a small circuit-board, similar to the Raspberry Pi, with an array of LEDs, a Bluetooth sensor, accelerometer, compass and two built-in buttons. It also has five rings to connect other sensors. The idea behind the Micro Bit computer is to encourage people to learn coding.

  • How to get started with the BBC micro:bit computer

It's been aimed at school children in particular, with 1 million units being sent to schools around the UK for year 7 pupils.

The project was initially spearheaded by the BBC, but now the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, a non-profit organisation led by former ARM employee Zach Shelby has taken over, and it has big plans to expand the reach of the coding computer. The computers will still bear BBC branding.

Shelby has said it's the Foundation's goal to "go out and reach 100 million people with micro:bit, and by reach I mean affect their lives with the technology".

The Foundation plans to make the micro:bit available across Europe by the end of 2016 and is already developing Norwegian and Dutch-language versions of the coding web tools. The plan for 2017 is to expand into North America and China, as well as introduce upgraded hardware which will include more computing power. Shelby has said it's more difficult than he originally thought to display Chinese and Japanese characters on the LED array.

If you're not a year 7 pupil or a parent of one and you'd like to get your hands on a micro:bit computer, you can. You can head to element14's website and buy the computer on its own, or as part of a package with various extras, with prices starting from £12.99

Sections Gadgets