Micro: bit & Circuit Playground

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Makecode NDATL Fall 2017 Tuesday, October 17 12:20PM session

Makecodemicro:bit & Circuit Playground

Missouri Ballroom – Sheyenne 12:20 – 1:10PM

See what Microsoft's Makecode has to offer teachers and students. Coding and/or programming is a hot topic in K12 education. Play with examples of Makecode in the online simulator and see demonstrations with two great microcontrollers, the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express and the BBC: microbit. Students love to control their physical world with programming/coding.

#InnovativeND #ndatl

Part I – Makecode & micro:bit

Microsoft MakeCode – https://makecode.com/ focus on two of the six supported items:

  • micro:bit – https://makecode.microbit.org/ [currently Makecode's best supported microcontroller]

  • adafruit Circuit Playground Express – https://makecode.adafruit.com/

MakeCode is a fast, easy and flexible tool for coding microcontrollers. One of the most valuable skills in our modern age is coding. Even more fun, coding that allows you to control the world around you. The two boards we use today are designed for Physical Computing. Coding from scratch is analogous to poetry, you have the entire English language at your disposal, but finding the right word and making them flow is a skill. Makecode runs entirely in the browser, no drivers, no downloads. Works with Chromebooks, Windows, Macs, even Raspberry Pi's.

micro:bit shows up as flash storage drives on your computer. Use your Finder/File Explorer/Chrome OS File Manager/File Manager [Mac/Windows/Chromebook/RasPi]

MakeCode - https://learn.adafruit.com/makecode an ad free tutorial from adafruit.

  • Interface – quick overview – learn by hands-on with the virtual micro:bit

  • Let's program some switches, LED's and Bluetooth – controlling the physical world

    • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) demo/hands on - "microbit-ble-radio.hex"

    • "Play is deep learning, not frivolous" - explore the various blocks available

    • Controlling a servo motor - "microbit-servo.hex" switch A 5 degrees per press

    • Temperature - "microbit-display-temp

    • Magic 8 Ball – we will only do three answers [original had 20 answers] - time permitting here is a video to try later Getting Started with micro:bit Part II - "microbit-8BallStarter.hex"

  • Overview of micro:bit sensors

    • 5x5 LED matrix

    • Built-in accelerometer (shake and movement)

    • Magnetometer (compass and metal detector)

    • Two buttons

    • Temperature sensor

    • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio

    • Contacts 21 GPIO pins, but our focus will be on 3 pins GND, 3.3V, Pin 0

    • Supply your own alligator or crocodile (UK) clips

    • ARM Cortex-M0 processor running 3.3V at 48 Mhz

  • Where to purchase

    • Adafruit & Sparkfun – BBC micro:bit Go Bundle – micro:bit, USB to micro USB, battery holder, batteries $16.50

    • Adafruit & Sparkfun – BBC micro:bit board only $14.95

    • Digikey


    • Python Editor – http://python.microbit.org

    • Sparkfun Tutorial on Gas Pump Skimmers

The best way to check for skimmer devices (at the gas pump) is using your phone. Thieves often use Bluetooth technology to transmit card and pin information. Just turn on Bluetooth and search for a device. If you see a long string of numbers trying to connect, that's a bad sign. - October is Cyber Security Awareness Month!

    • Adafruit BBC micro:bit Lesson #0 - https://learn.adafruit.com/bbc-micro-bit-lesson-number-0/python-editor?view=all

    • Sparkfun micro:bit - https://www.sparkfun.com/pages/microbit

    • What to program the embedded microcontroller of micro:bit in C?

    • Try micro:bit with Scratch X - Scratch Xperimental with micro:bit extension – be brave

    • micro:bit – http://microbit.org/ [peek at microbit.uk for more cool stuff]

    • micro:bit Support

    • Access to BBC micro:bit files

    • Access to Adafruit Circuit Playground Express

Part II – Makecode & adafruit Circuit Playground Express

Please don't confuse with the original Circuit Playground which doesn't work with MakeCode!

Adafruit Learning Tutorial All you need to know to get coding with Microsoft

  • Interface

  • Let's program – can we reuse the "servo" code and what breaks

  • Quick Demo – "patrol-lights-siren"

  • Quick Demo – are micro:bit programs interchangable? - temperature and light

  • Overview of Circuit Playground Express sensors

    • 10 mini NeoPixel: each one can display any color

    • 1 motion sensor (triple-axis accelerometer, tap and free-fall detection)

    • 1 temperature sensor (thermistor)

    • 1 sound sensor (MEMS microphone)

    • 1 mini speaker with class D amplifier (magnetic speaker/buzzer)

    • 2 push buttons, leabeld A and B

    • 1 slide switch

    • 1 infrared receiver and transmitter (can also act as a proximity sensor)

    • 8 alligator-clip friendly input/output pins

    • Includes I2C, UART, 8-pins analog inputs, multiple PWM output

    • 7 pads can act as capactitive touch inputs and the 1 remaining is a true analog output

    • Green power LED

    • Reset button

    • ARM Cortex-M0 processor, running 3.3 V and 48 Mhz

    • 2 MB of SPI Flash storage primarily used with CircuitPython to store code and libraries

    • MicroUSB port for programming and debugging

    • USB port can act like serial port, keyboard, mouse, joystick, or MIDI

    • 1 JST battery connector

  • Where to purchase

    • adafruit

    • Digikey

Circuit Playground Express Resources:

  • Digital Fidget Spinner a tutorial from learn.adafruit.com

  • Circuit Playground Express Laser Tag another tutorial from learn.adafruit

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