BBC micro:bit ‘first programmable device’ now in distribution

June 01, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Distributor element14 is now accepting orders for the BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized programmable device that has been designed to introduce children to coding and computing concepts. The widespread availability follows the gifting of the BBC micro:bit to up to one million school children in Year 7 (or equivalent) across the UK, to inspire them to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology.

element14 is the manufacturing partner for the device, which has features such as;

25 red LEDs – children are encouraged to light them up, flash messages, create games, and invent digital stories

Two programmable buttons – associate them with an action and interact with projects

On-board motion detector – just like a smartphone; the BBC micro:bit can react to shakes, tilts, and even drops

A built-in compass – sense which direction you’re facing and your movement in degrees

Bluetooth Smart Technology and Low Energy – connect to the internet and the world around

Five Input and Output rings – connect the BBC micro:bit directly to other devices using crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs, and send commands back and forth.


The BBC micro:bits will ship in July so children and parents can take advantage of the summer holidays to begin their journey into coding; following that, element14 will begin fulfilling orders from its regular sales channels.


The BBC micro:bit can be pre-ordered from element14, the Microsoft Store, Technology Will Save Us, Kitronic and Sciencescope and other resellers. Prices range from £12.99 for a single BBC micro:bit; £14.99 for the starter kit ‘BBC micro:bit Go’, which includes a BBC micro:bit, mini USB, battery pack and four project ideas to get users started; and £140.00 for a ‘BBC micro:bit Club’ pack, which includes 10 devices and everything needed to get a coding club started.


The BBC and partners launched the BBC micro:bit in March 2016, aiming to inspire a new generation of digital pioneers, and building on the ground-breaking role of the BBC Micro, which helped introduce the nation to computing in the 1980s. The BBC micro:bit can be used in conjunction with other single board computers to increase potential applications and expand opportunities, for example utilising the bluetooth technology within the BBC micro:bit to create a tiny, handheld remote control for games or vehicles built on your Raspberry