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A Jupyter kernel for MicroPython on the BBC micro:bit

Project description

The micro:bit is a single-board computer designed by the BBC as a way to learn about programming. It is being delivered to all year seven students (11-12) in the UK.

The front side of a micro:bit

The micro:bit has a 5x5 grid of red LEDs, two buttons, an accelerometer and a compass. There are also pins to connect components like motors or speakers.

MicroPython is a variant of the Python programming language that runs on such tiny computers. It’s a powerful way to program the micro:bit. For tutorials and reference information, see BBC micro:bit MicroPython.

Jupyter is a set of tools for interactive programming. This package allows Jupyter interfaces to run MicroPython code directly on the micro:bit.

Set-up steps:

  1. Plug in your micro:bit and ensure it has MicroPython on it. To do this, create a Python script in the web editor, and follow the instructions there to flash it onto the micro:bit. It doesn’t matter for this what the script does.

  2. Depending on your system, you may need some extra setup so that the kernel can talk to your micro:bit using a serial port.

    • On Linux, you may need to add yourself to the dialout group. Run sudo usermod -a -G dialout <your-username>, then log out and in again.

    • On Windows, you need to install the mbed driver.

  1. Install Jupyter.

  2. Install this package:

    pip install ubit_kernel
    python3 -m ubit_kernel.install

When you start the Jupyter Notebook, there should be a micro:bit option in the menu to create a new notebook.

To use the kernel from other Jupyter interfaces, start them with --kernel ubit.

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