maker faire 2016 - microbit & nano satellite

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IoT Innovators Meetup Contents

The Satellite Inventors Kit for the BBC micro:bitinspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers

Lilian KasemTechnical Evangelist Microsoft UK, in collaboration with the space application catapult


Abstract:Building the skills the UK needs for the future requires inspiring the young today! The Satellite Inventors Kit for the BBC micro:bit enables budding scientists and engineers to explore the world around them through space related experiments. The Mission Control app allows experimenters to set up and control experiments on the Satellite Inventors Kit from their smartphone. Come and see the Satellite Inventors Kit in action in this demo filled session and learn how you can support your schools participation in our attempt to deliver the largest Schools Internet of Things activity in the UK.

Intro:The space applications catapult guys have a mission to increase the UK space industry to 40 billion by 2030. By 2030, the developers, engineers, scientists they need are in school now. We need to engage those school children so they follow a STEM education


BBC Micro, 1981

CATAPULT OPENHas anyone here heard of the BBC micro?

In 1982 the BBC launched the BBC Micro with the intention of inspiring children to get into programming. Today, the BBC is revisiting this mission and launching the BBC Microbit.



CATAPULT OPENThe BBC Microbit is a tiny computer that will be given to every year 7 student in the country to encourage them to get into programming. Its a actually pretty powerful, not as powerful as a your smart phone, but it has more computing power than the international space station crazy right?

It has Bluetooth, a compass, an accelerometer, pins with a Ground and Voltage and buttons you can program. It has a 5x5 LED grid that can also be programmed not bad for such a small device.3


Four EditorsCode Kingdom Block Editor Touch develop editor Python Editor

CATAPULT OPEN There are also several ways you can program it weve built an editor called TouchDevelop that allows beginners to easily get started which little to no programming knowledge its a very simple touch based editor that lets you press on commands to add to your program. For more advance students, theres JavaScript and Python editors available for people to improve their programming skills and start building more complex programs.


Device from top left going clockwise:

Clock demo (on ) integrates large LCD display, Real Time Clock with battery backup, alarm buzzer and temperature.

Proto-type Micro:Bit Satellilte Inventors Kit to views. Incorporates camera, atmospheric pressure (for weather and altitude), temperature in 6cm cube. Available next year with science experiment activities.

An actual nano-satellite we are exploring putting a Micro:Bit Satellite into space next year

A basic breadboard circuit to drive an ADAFruit BMP180 breakout board via I2C from the Micro:Bit. I2C is one of several electronic connection standards Micro:Bit supports to integrate with other devices.


The Catapult PocketQube Satellite Kit

A complete satellite in a 5 cm cube

A fully functional, self-contained, remotely operated platform

CATAPULT OPENFirst prototype developed by two interns in 6 weeks

Education TrainingExperimentInstrumentMission design

The guys at Catapult came up with this mini satellite here that uses a Microbit and a custom made board that bring some addition features to the Microbit. The challenge was to build a smaller satellite than the one now commonly used (10cm cube) and this is what they came up with. An actual nano-satellite we are exploring putting a Micro:Bit Satellite into space next year


The Micro:bit Satellite Inventors Kit

Micro:bitmicroSD card readerUV/IR/VIS sensorTemperature sensorCamera

CATAPULT OPENThis is what the latest prototype looks like for the satellite kit. It has an SD card reader as the Microbit doesnt have storage. It has a temperature sensor and a UV IR and Visible sensor and a camera that has an IR sensor


Curriculum Links KS3CodingReal world problems and physical systemsDeveloping creativity Design and technologyIterative design and buildingBiologyBiological ecosystemsPlant reproduction and the environmentPhotosynthetic processesPhotosynthesis and the atmosphereAdaptation of leaves for photosynthesis

ChemistryThe carbon cyclePhysicsRadiation, convection and conductionGravity as a forceWavesElectricityMagnetismForcesThe SunThe seasonsGeographyInterpreting geographical info

CATAPULT OPENAnd the hope is that we can provide this kit to schools all over the country with lesson plans for these subjects And we really want to demonstrate a link between experiments and real space applications. So each activity / lesson plan we develop will demo a link to space in some way


Activity Examples

Observing GravityExploring thermal propertiesMeasuring vegetation withlight frequency visualisation (NDVI)

CATAPULT OPENAnd weve already put together some projects, like calculating gravity by adding your Microbit at the end of a pendulum. Learning about materials and thermal properties through covering up the Microbit with different materials and measuring the temperature afterwards. And a project to observe vegetation using the camera.

Gravity:Calculate gravity using a pendulum and the SIK. Simulate gravity on other planets and observe differences

Thermal properties:Learn which materials will help protect a space craft

Measuring vegetationSatellites are observing the vegetation on earth Create your own vegetation health monitor using advanced photo transformation techniquesmeasure photosynthetic activityNDVI = Normalised difference vegetation index ( 9

Make stuff happenMission ControlNational IoT ProjectCommunity Advocates

How are we going to make this happen?

Weve got some projects and ways for student to learn alone through our mission control app and a bigger project where the whole classroom will be involved.10

Mission control in the classroomRaspberry Pi 3 + Windows IoT

Collect data via Bluetooth

Distribute via webserver to any and all devices

Mission control portal

Push data to Azure


On a bigger scale, we want to enable a class activity by turning the classroom into a mission control room. A raspberry pi will be used as some sort of hub that all of the students microbits will connect to via Bluetooth. The Pi will be connected to the schools network and students will all be able to access the lessons and activities on the mission control portal on the school computers allowing them to collect, view and visualise all of the data they have all collected.


Mission Control APP




Experiment Wizard

Real Time Telemetry

RSS Feed of Space Activity

And on a smaller scale, we are working on a mission control app that gives students experiments an activity to do in their own time.

It will have an experiment wizard they can use and which will guide them through their experiments as well as be able to see the Microbit sensor data in real time

Presents experimentsControls experiment executionGathers experiment dataField gateway to National IoT HubSpace Activity TrackerTelemetry client

Science activity with curriculum contextExperiment WizardReal-time Micro:bit sensor dataSpace application contextReal world space application example


Space science in the classroom

LandsatMicro:bit kit data

CATAPULT OPENAnd on a massive scale, we would love to get at least one school in each county involved with our IoT experiment, and even adults and hobbiests too. Well like to have everyone set up their Microbit to collect image data and allow people to view data from across the country and compare the data collected from the microbits on the ground to the data acquired from the satellite

Allows students to view data from across the country

Compare with satellite-sourced data

Crowd-sourced data demonstrates how much data a satellite can acquire

Comparison of data sets demonstrates how instruments work

Using Micro:bits and satellite inventors kits in the classroomMinimum of one per county

Collect an image

Process the image data

Upload the data point to the cloud

Geotag data to locate the pixel

Play back to demonstrate the change in season


Get involved Advocates who can demo the kits at schools A community of platform and app developers

Contact us if youre interested: