BBC's education-focused Micro Bit is 18 times faster than the BBC Micro

Being given away to 1 million children

BBC Micro Bit

The BBC has unveiled the final version of the Micro Bit, a pocket-size computer that's being given away to up to 1 million 11 and 12 year olds in schools across the UK.

The device is 18 times faster, 70 times smaller and 617 times lighter than the original BBC Micro, which helped popularise computer programming in the early 1980s.

It has two programmable buttons, an onboard compass and an accelerometer, allowing to be used as a game controller.

The Micro Bit was originally unveiled in March at the launch of the BBC's Make It Digital Project, which aims to get young people more involved in digital technology.

Original BBC Micro
The original BBC Micro from 1981

Mind the gap

Speaking at the unveiling of the final product, BBC Director General Tony Hall said that the collaborative project between the BBC its partners - including ARM, Samsung and Microsoft - was being carried out to address the "critical and growing digital skills gap" in the UK, while helping "inform, education and entertain."

Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, called the project "one of the biggest educational initiatives the BBC has ever led, which we hope will provide the catalyst for digital pioneers."

Rocks added that the BBC will be making the Micro Bit open source, allowing others to create, manufacture and distribute their own devices without restriction.

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