BBC Turns Micro:Bit Computers into IoT Devices

Nominet and the BBC have demonstrated a new use case for the Micro:Bit computer in a bid to turn Britain’s school children into Internet of Things (IoT) pioneers.

The Micro:Bit was launched back in 2015 under the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative to encourage young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Researchers have now come up with a way to enable data packets to be transmitted between micro:bit, and Nominet has said its methods will create opportunities for young  coders and teach children about the complexities of how the internet works.

Nominet was best known for its stewardship of the UK’s internet domain name registration system, but is now diversifying into emerging areas of connectivity and sees the IoT as something that can play a strategic role in its future.

Director of research and development at Nominet, Adam Leach, said the motivation behind the project was initially to extend Nominet’s IoT expertise.

“We have built a strong set of tools that enable IoT applications and now we are on a mission to establish other use cases,” he said. “This project with the BBC will really show what our technology can do.”

The proposal from Nominet will see data packets sent to micro:bits addressed with a unique handle assigned by the student – which will mean no personally identifiable data is ever stored.

Leach added: “We introduced privacy by design by making sure personal data wasn’t part of the system in the first place.

“We don’t want the name, password or email address of anybody using a micro:bit.”

Connectivity will be delivered through a Raspberry Pi acting as a gateway and Nominet will provide disk images for the Raspberry Pis meaning they require little configuration and no coding; just a Wi-Fi connection.

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