The BBC has admitted that it will miss the October launch for its micro:bit educational microcontroller, following problems with the device's power circuitry.
Unveiled back in March
, the micro:bit - then known as the Micro Bit - forms the central core of the BBC's new Make It Digital educational initiative. Inspired by the Computer Literacy Project of the 1980s, the broadcaster intends to provide every Year 7 pupil in the UK with a free micro:bit of their own, which they can program to light up an on-board grid of LEDs or interface with external hardware through clip-friendly pads.
The broadcaster had originally intended to release the micro:bit in October, unveiling a revised design
back in July. Sadly, that revision appears to be responsible for a hiccough in the roll-out, and the October date has now been scrapped. 'We've decided to make some minor revisions to the way power is supplied around the board, as this was affecting a few devices in rare and isolated instances,
' explained the BBC's head of learning Sinead Rocks in a blog post
this week. 'This will have an impact on our timings for distribution but we are working hard to make sure you get your micro:bits as quickly as possible.
That impact means that the promised free devices won't be arriving in schools until the new year, although Rocks has indicated that Year 7 teachers will be receiving hardware pre-Christmas to allow them time to familiarise themselves with the micro:bit. To that end, a website featuring embedded code editors and a simulator which allows users to write programs for the device prior to launch is also being made available.
The micro:bit has been beaten to market by the CodeBug
, the original design of which acted as inspiration for the BBC's device, following a successful Kickstarter campaign.