HackSpace magazine

Micro:bit for Mad Scientists

By Andrew Gregory. Posted

Micro:bit for Mad Scientists is aimed at kids aged 10+. You get a thorough introduction to the micro:bit, including what it does, what sensors it includes, what you can add to it, how to add code to it, and everything else you might want to know when starting out with it.

Code examples are given in MicroPython, as well as Blocks, the graphical version that’s very similar to Scratch, and all code is available to download.

One oddity of the first few pages is that the first example given is a Hello World program, which is perfectly traditional, but has to be the most boring way possible to introduce a technology with as much potential as the micro:bit. The other moment that jarred is that, moments after being told that the micro:bit is packed with sensors, the first hardware project requires an additional piece of hardware. This is a minor quibble – the whole point of physical computing is that you’re adding other bits of hardware to a computer, whether that hardware is a microphone, motors, servos, speakers, or whatever. It’s just a little odd that the capabilities inherent in the micro:bit aren’t explored further before add-ons are introduced.

The rest of the book is packed with projects and experiments for young, mad scientists, incorporating servos, motors, music, communicating with Bluetooth Low Energy radio (BLE), and more. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll remember that we published a how-to on BLE in issue 30, which just goes to show this book’s ambition. It’s aimed at kids, but there’s nothing dumbed down here. Micro:bit for Mad Scientists is an excellent resource to take curious kids on a journey into physical computing.  

Simon Monk  $24.95    No Starch 

VERDICT Thorough, fun, useful, and varied projects for the Emmett Brown in your life.