The new micro:bit has a built-in microphone and speaker to allow sound-sensing and sound-making without the need to attach another device. It also introduces capacitive touch sensing, a power-saving mode and more computing power for the classroom.
The latest micro:bit will work with your existing lessons and materials; all the existing MakeCode blocks and MicroPython code will work in the same way as they do on the original micro:bit.
Previous micro:bit revisions, will also continue to work just as they did before.
Amongst the micro:bit features, ‘sound’ is in a unique position of being already present in the editors, but not on the board, so it is already familiar to teachers, yet the speaker and microphone on the board are transformative in the kinds of applications people can build.
- Hardware specification
- Universal Editors and Universal Hex files
- How do I use the new features?
- Universal Hex format
- Bluetooth BLE
- Will my saved hex files work with the new board?
- Where can I get the latest micro:bit?
- How do I find out more about the hardware and software updates?
- Onboard speaker
- MEMs Microphone with LED indicator
- Touch-sensitive logo
- Built-in sleep/off mode that means the board can be powered-down with batteries connected
- Discrete regulator that can supply up to 200mA of current to external accessories
- Notched edge connector. To make it easier to connect things like crocodile clips and conductive thread
- Power LED indicator. In addition to the USB activity indicator, a power LED shows whether the micro:bit is powered on or off
- Gold plated antenna. To easily identify the radio/Bluetooth component
A detailed breakdown can be found on our hardware page
- Target MCU, Nordic Semiconductor nRF52833 (64MHz Cortex-M4F, 512kB Flash, 128kB RAM)
- Interface MCU: NXP KL27, 256kB Flash (128kB reserved for future enhancement), 32kB RAM
- Motion sensor: ST LSM303
- MEMS microphone: Knowles SPU0410LR5H-QB-7 MEMS
- Power consumption 300mA (up to 200mA for accessories)
These pages provide further guidance on the updates for different audiences.
Universal Editors & Universal Hex Files
In an effort to ensure the greatest degree of continuity for teachers, users will not need to select which version of the device they have before using MakeCode or the Python Editor. Instead, the editors will support a new format called “universal hex” which can run on all micro:bit board revisions
This means that you can use MakeCode or the online Python Editor as you always have, to use all of the features that are common to both version of the BBC micro:bit: Display, buttons, motion sensing, gestures like shake, light sensing, and even the Music blocks.
How do I use the new features?
The speaker works in the same way you would expect when you connect up your headphones or an external speaker to the micro:bit. By default, the sound output will be on both the speaker and Edge connector. The microphone will have an additional set of blocks in MakeCode and objects in MicroPython to use, so that you can monitor and respond to sound. The logo touch is implemented in the same way as touching a pin on the edge connector and will have equivalent blocks in MakeCode and objects in MicroPython to use. Note that Logo touch is capacitive touch by default and the edge pins are resistive.
To access the features of the latest revision only (eg. to output sound only on the speaker and not the edge connector), you will need to add additional code to your programs. This ensures that the default editor experience continues to work for everyone, regardless of the board revision.
Features that are common to all board variants will work in the same way they always have. For example, you will be able to use the same blocks in MakeCode to use the accelerometer on any board revision.
You can use the latest board revision in the beta editor
Using the new features in MakeCode
An extension has been developed to include the microphone and logo touch features currently available. https://github.com/microbit-foundation/pxt-microbit-v2-extension
- Open https://makecode.microbit.org/beta
- Select Advanced > Add Extension and paste https://github.com/microbit-foundation/pxt-microbit-v2-extension into the search box.
- Click on the extension to add it to the toolbox.
New MakeCode APIs
The Microphone and Logo touch features can be found in the Input menu
The Speaker features can be found in the music menu
You can use the latest board revision and APIs in the Python beta editor:
If you want to use a specific or custom build of MicroPython you can do this in Mu.
- Drag and drop the MicroPython binary on to the
- Open the Files tab in Mu and copy
main.pyfrom the Files on your computer to the Files on your micro:bit
New Python APIs
Microphone - The microphone can be called using the `microphone` object. For example
microbit.microphone.get_sounds() to return a history of sounds.
Logo - can be accessed using the pin object
`to check if the logo is currently being touched.
Universal Hex Format
The editors and apps are compatible with and will let you download and flash a file to any micro:bit revision. This is called a Universal Hex file. A clear indication that you are working with this format is that a compiled .hex file will be ~1.8Mb as opposed to ~700Kb in size.
More information about this is available on our hex format page.
A hex file that enables all micro:bit Bluetooth services is available to use for testing BLE. Download the updated version of the BLE all services hex
Will my saved hex files work with the new board?
Yes, however, you will need to update the files by dragging and dropping them into the software editor in which they were created.
If you attempt to use an old .hex file without updating it, the micro:bit will display a compatibility error eg.
How do I get a device?
The micro:bit will be available to buy from November 2020. Visit the Buy page on the micro:bit website for updates on where to buy the micro:bit from reseller companies.
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit. When you buy the micro:bit we receive a royalty which helps our work in education programmes worldwide.
If you would like early access to a device in order to test/develop an accessory or editor please contact us at email@example.com
How do I find out more about the hardware and software updates?
Our DAL, Devices and Editors mailing list provides up to date information about any technical changes regarding the micro:bit.
How do I feed back or raise issues?
Any questions or issues should be reported via micro:bit support or on the respective Github repositories for the software.