Micro minicomputers will be sold around the world, and hobbyists will be given the opportunity to create their own versions.

These announcements were issued by a new non-profit foundation, which is taking over the education project previously led by the BBC.

Earlier this year, about a million of these devices were given away for free to students in the UK.

The BBC says they encourage children, especially girls, to code

However, the machines were delayed until last year's seventh grade (ages 11 to 12), causing problems for teachers, who took less time than expected to prepare the relevant courses.

Global ambition

In addition to the UK, schools in the Netherlands and Iceland also use micro-bits. But the foundation now intends to coordinate broader outreach efforts.

"Our goal is to go out and micro-reach 100 million people, and by touch, I mean impact their lives with technology, " said Zack Shelby, the foundation's new chief executive.

"This means (selling) tens of millions of devices ... in the next 5 to 10 years."

His organization plans to ensure microbits are available throughout Europe by the end of the year, and is developing Norwegian and Dutch versions of its coding web tools to stimulate demand.

Next, in 2017, the foundation plans to target North America and China, which will coincide with hardware upgrades.

"We will invest more computing power," says Mr Shelby. "

"We're going to look at new sensors.

And how to display the Chinese and Japanese characters -- you used to need more leds than we do today.

"We also have work to do to lower prices in developing countries, which is very clear to us."

Microbits currently sell for about # 13, not including the batteries needed to power them.

This makes them several times more expensive than another bare metal-raspberry Pi Zero.

But the foundation says it serves different audiences because micro bit is designed for users who initially have little coding knowledge.

What is a Micro Bit?

Micro Bit is a palm-sized circuit board consisting of 25 arrays of LED lights that can be programmed to display letters, numbers, and other shapes, as well as Bluetooth chips for wireless connectivity.

It also includes two built-in Buttons, an accelerometer and compass, and rings that can be connected to more sensors.

Instead of entering the code directly on the computer, the owner writes the script in one of the four programming languages through the network tools on the computer, or through the application on the tablet or smart phone.

Once written, the compiled script must be transferred to microbits and then used as a stand-alone device to flash messages and record the movements of other tasks.

It can also be connected to other electronic devices to form the "brain" of robots, musical instruments or other kits.

In addition, a new feature makes peer-to-peer communication possible, which means that one microbit can now transmit data to another, opening up further possibilities.


UK expansion

The foundation has also pledged to use some of the money to fund Micro Bits in UK classrooms, giving more children the opportunity to use them.

However, to a large extent, schools that want to use them need to pay for themselves.

This may require two or more students to share a device in class, instead of having them bring one home by themselves as before.

With the release of microbit hardware design, older kids are also welcome to build diy models.

Shelby said: "It will look different because it is not easy to build it by itself." .

"We think this will make older children and young people interested in experimenting with electronics."

"Not only can they make micro bits, they can also modify one and make their own sensors.

Female appeal

Although the BBC gave up control of the project, it will still have a seat on the foundation's board and the hardware will still be named after it.

To commemorate the handover, the broadcaster announced the details of a survey, in which 147 girls were questioned before receiving micro-bits, and then another group of 208 girls were questioned.

According to the survey, 23 percent of those with no experience said they would "definitely" study computers in the future, but that figure rose to 39 percent for microbit users.

Mr. Shelby commented: "Many Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) projects are often aimed at boys-such as rocket cars." .

"with Micro Bits, there are a lot of projects that girls are really interested in-for example, they like music-based projects and like to use it to make their own drawing games-so it doesn't look scary."

Early days

Micro Bit was initially released from October 2015 to March 2016, meaning teachers are not released until later in the school year.

Some people involved in the project believe that because some recipients are just beginning to use the products, it is too early to judge their full impact.

"If we can let teachers get it a few weeks before students, it will have a greater impact," admitted Richard Needham, consultant of Stem Learning. Stem Learning is a company that develops teaching resources.

"Some schools find it difficult to manage because they are required to distribute these scholarships, but it is not clear who owns them.

"The BBC says they belong to children, not teachers, but I do know that in some schools they are watched a little longer to determine how they will be distributed.

"I have heard of some rare cases in which the teacher did not send it until the beginning of the school year, which is disappointing, but understandable."