Have you heard? There’s a new micro:bit out that’s really making some noise! The micro:bit Educational Foundation has now released the micro:bit v2, and while it looks very much like the original BBC micro:bit we came to know five years ago, they have packed a lot of great improvements into this little microcontroller board.
The most prominent change is the addition of native audio capabilities – no longer will you need an expansion board to play sounds or respond to audio. The board now features an onboard speaker on the backside of the board along with a Knowles SPU0410LR5H-QB-7 MEMS microphone just above it. They’ve also incorporated an LED to let you know when the microphone is active; however, this isn’t the only new LED you will find on the micro:bit v2. Next to the USB connector, you will find a new power indicator LED. This was needed since the board now has built-in sleep/off capability, so you no longer need to disconnect the battery each time you want to shut it off, simply hold the reset button and the board will power down.
Other noticeable changes include notches in the edge connector to provide a better connection for alligator clips or conductive thread. Additionally, the antenna for wireless communication is now gold plated for easier identification. Likely the most subtle change would be the micro:bit logo above the LED matrix is now a capacitive touch input, giving users another way to interact with their programs in addition to the two user buttons that we have been using.
Image source: microbit.org
Of course, the improvements don’t stop here. The processor has been upgraded from the Nordic nRF51822 to the nRF52833 which offers double the flash memory and eight times the RAM. The interface IC has also changed from the NXP KL26Z to the KL27Z with double the RAM, and a discrete voltage regulator now provides 200 mA of power for accessories, a notable improvement over the 90 mA of the previous revision. As a result of these changes, there are now 4 dedicated GPIO rather than 3, a dedicated I2C bus for peripherals, and Bluetooth 5.0.
Image source: microbit.org
Best of all, the core functionality has remained so all of your current micro:bit programs can be re-built to run on the new hardware by simply dropping the hex file into whichever software editor was used to create the file. With the micro:bit Foundation’s new Universal Hex format, new programs that use features common to both versions; like Display, buttons, motion sensing, gestures like shake, light sensing, and even the Music blocks; will work for either version of the board.
The new micro:bit v2 adds a lot of thoughtful upgrades and features based on guidance from the user community, which builds on the micro:bit you already know and love to bring new opportunities to get excited about coding and making. Get started with these new features by ordering your new micro:bit v2 today!