Micro:bit Unveiled


Announced in March this year, the BBC’s micro:bit has been unveiled today. All the people excited by this fantastic initiative can now discover the final device and this

extensive set of features on the BBC Make it Digital website. The micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer measuring 4cm by 5cm, and designed to be fun and easy to use. You can code, customize and control to bring your digital ideas, games and apps to life. It allows children and young people to develop an intuitive understanding of programming concepts and controlling hardware in technology and computing.

The micro:bit is one of the most ambitious STEM programs in recent years. It will be given freely to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK. The scale and scope of this unique initiative has only been made possible by an unprecedented collaboration between 28 international organizations, pioneering start-ups and transformative education organizations. The micro:bit’s products partners, amongst which Freescale, ARM, Microsoft, Samsung, Farnell have led on the software, hardware, design, manufacture and distribution of the device.

Specifically, Freescale has provided a Kinetis MCU and 2 motion sensors – a 3-axis accelerometer, and a 3-axis magnetometer. They allow the micro:bit to perform the following tasks:

• Freescale’s Kinetis MCU is controlling the Micro-USB connector. This presents the micro:bit to a computer as a memory stick. This means the program can be dragged onto the micro:bit in the same way a file is dragged onto a memory stick.

• Freescale’s 3-axis digital accelerometer can detect movement and tell other devices you’re on the go. It measures on 3 axes X, Y, and Z and sends back the data in milli-gs. The micro:bit can react to this data and tell other devices it is moving.
The device will also detect a small number of standard actions e.g. shake, tilt and freefall. Turn the micro:bit into a spirit level. Use it for motion-activated games. Have your micro:bit light up when something is moved.

• Freescale’s 3-axis magnetometer, built-in compass, can sense which direction you’re facing and your movement in degrees. This data can be used by the micro:bit in a program or be sent to another device. The magnetometer could also detect the presence of certain metals and magnets.

These leading edge products embarked in the micro:bit are used in some of the most advanced devices available today on the market. They ensure the boards, while developed for children, are absolutely state of the art, and will provide the perfect foundation on which future innovators can start building their skills.

Detailed specifications of the products Freescale donated for the micro:bit:

Kinetis KL26Z – 48 MHz, USB, Connectivity, Ultra-Low-Power MCU

The Kinetis KL26 MCU is part of the ultra-low-power Kinetis KL2x MCU family based on the ARM® Cortex-M0+ core that includes a full-speed USB 2.0 On-the-Go (OTG) controller.

Target Applications
• Battery-operated applications
• Consumer applications
• Low-power applications
• USB peripherals
• Smart monitor applications

• Core processor: ARM® Cortex®-M0+
• Core size: 32-Bit
• Speed: 48MHz
• Connectivity: I²C, LIN, SPI, UART/ USART, USB, USB OTG
• Peripherals: Brown-out detect/reset, DMA, I²S, LVD, POR, PWM, WDT
• Number of I/O: 23
• Program memory size: 128KB (128K x 8)
• Program memory type: Flash
• RAM size: 16K x 8
• Voltage – Supply (Vcc/Vdd) 71 V ~ 3.6 V

MMA8653FC: ±2g/±4g/±8g, Low g, 10-Bit Digital Accelerometer

The Freescale MMA8653FC 10-bit accel­erometer has industry leading performance in a small DFN package. Packed with embedded functions that include:

• Flexible user-programmable options and two configurable interrupt pins
• Overall power savings through inertial wake-up interrupt signals that monitor events and remain in a low-power mode during periods of inactivity

• Low-profile 2 × 2 × 1.0 mm DFN package
• High sensitivity: 1 mg per LSB
• Low noise: 150 micro g per root Hertz (independent of resolution)
• Low-power mode: 7 micro amps
• Interrupt and IIC interface supply: 1.62 to 3.6 V
• Supply voltage: 1.95 to 3.6 V
• Output data rate: 1.5 to 800 Hz

Target Applications
• Smartphones
• Tablets
• Remote Controls
• Smart monitor applications

MAG3110: Freescale High Accuracy, 3-Axis Magnetometer

The Freescale MAG3110 is a small, low-power digital 3-axis magnetic sensor with a wide dynamic range to allow operation in PCBs with high extraneous magnetic fields. The MAG3110:

• Measures the components of the local magnetic field, the sum of the geomagnetic field and the magnetic field created by components on the circuit board
• Can be used in conjunction with a 3-axis accelerometer so that orientation-independent accurate compass heading information may be achieved

• Features a standard I²C serial interface and is capable of measuring local magnetic fields up to 10 Gauss with output data rates up to 80 Hz

Target Applications
• Consumer Gaming Headsets
• Gaming Equipment
• Mobile Phones
• Remote Controls
• Augmented Reality
• Smart monitor applications

Freescale Semiconductor

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