Visualizing Data Collected by the BBC micro:bit using BittyWeb

Visualizing Data Collected by the BBC micro:bit using BittyWeb

Data Visualization – Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data through use of visual elements like charts, graphs and maps including data visualization tools. Data Visualization tools (PowerBI, Tableau, etc.) were designed provide an easy way to visualize and understand behavior of data over time, understand existing trends in the data, any outliers that skew overall results including other types of patterns that the data might exhibit. Here’s what Wikipedia have to say about Data Visualization, “

Data visualization is viewed by many disciplines as a modern equivalent of visual communication. It involves the creation and study of the visual representation of data. To communicate information clearly and efficiently, data visualization uses statistical graphics, plots, information graphics and other tools. Numerical data may be encoded using dots, lines, or bars, to visually communicate a quantitative message.

Effective visualization helps users analyze and reason about data and evidence. It makes complex data more accessible, understandable and usable. Data visualization is both an art and a science.

Wikipedia

So why would we want to visualize data from the sensors on the BBC micro:bit – The BBC micro:bit offers kids of all ages a great opportunity to get started with their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning journey. Kids can use the BBC micro:bit to learn how to code using block based programs (including Javascript and Python for advanced users), build basic electronic circuits or also program their own robots to move around and dance. The BBC micro:bit presents it’s owner with endless learning possibilities.

Data Visualization makes interpreting trends in numbers a lot easier

The BBC micro:bit also happens to have a few in-built sensors i.e. Accelerometer (Speed detection), Magnetometer (compass) and Temperature sensor. Parents, teachers and kids can explore basic concepts of math, physics, statistics by capturing and visualizing data collected by the BBC micro:bit. The BBC micro:bit can be very easily used to turn a dry math or physics lesson into an interactive learning experience. A lot of educators around the world have started introducing new concepts in class using the BBC micro:bit. You’ll also find relevant resources at the BBC micro:bit website.

So what is the BBC micro:bit – The BBC micro:bit is a powerful pocket sized codeable computer that comes packed with an array of sensors that include motion detection, a built-in compass, temperature sensor, LED’s with light sensing capability, an accelerometer, a radio for communication and to top it all a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module. The BBC micro:bit was designed and manufactured to be given away free to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK in 2016 by the BBC.

The BBC micro:bit was developed as a collaboration between 29 partners and has been the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative in 30 years, with an ambition to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers across the United Kingdom. The BBC micro:bit was designed with the aim to inspire young people to get creative with digital technology and develop core skills in science, technology and engineering.

BBC micro:bit Go kit (Available at OzToyLib)

The BBC micro:bit was designed to get children around the UK started on their STEM learning and to facilitate that it comes packed with a bunch of features. Here’s a summary of the key features of the BBC micro:bit –

  1. 25 individually-programmable LEDs.
  2. 2 programmable buttons.
  3. Physical connection pins.
  4. Light and temperature sensors.
  5. Motion sensors (accelerometer and compass)
  6. Wireless Communication, via Radio and Bluetooth.
  7. USB interface.

Bitty Software & Using Bitty Web – The awesome guys at Bitty Software have written a few different applications for the BBC micro:bit. Some of their apps have been designed for interacting with the BBC micro:bit using a phone while their latest app i.e. BittyWeb is designed for use with any laptop or desktop. Here’s what the Bitty Software website (www.bittysoftware.com) has to say about them,

We provide mobile applications and a set of web-based educational tools known as BittyWeb which work with devices like the BBC micro:bit. We also have tutorials and other educational resources that help you learn how to write code for your micro:bit so that you can have fun, learn how to code and explore the worlds of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM). BittyWeb is for the whole class and just needs a machine with Bluetooth support and a suitable web browser.


So, welcome to Bitty Software! We provide smartphone and web applications which work with devices like the BBC micro:bit as well as tutorials and other educational resources that help you learn how to write code for your micro:bit. 

About BittySoftware

Among the many tools that Bitty Software provides, BittyWeb is an educational tool from Bitty Software that is designed to extend STEM learning concepts. BittyWeb runs on a laptop or a desktop allowing you to visualize data collected from sensors on the BBC micro:bit. With BittyWeb you are able to visualize invisible phenomena like motion, intensity of light, temperature of the room, speed and direction of motion, etc.using data collected by Bitty Data Logger. Bitty Software makes it easy for kids of all ages to capture data using sensors, visualize them on screen and work through an interpretation of the data involved. Bitty Software turns potentially dry subjects into interesting interactive challenges.

So simply speaking the process to visualize data with BittyWeb is as follows –

  1. BBC micro:bit is connected up to your computer i.e. laptop, desktop
  2. You access the BittyWeb application using your browser (Chrome in our case), scan for a BBC micro:bit and then add the device once you’ve seen it pop-up
  3. Let BittyWeb know which sensors you would like to start graphing data for
  4. Graph data on screen
  5. Save graphed data to a file if required

Here are some screenshots where we’ve connected a BBC micro:bit to the laptop and used BittyWeb to capture, visualize data generated by the sensors on the BBC micro:bit

Scan for the BBC micro:bit and pair with the device over BLE
Configure the sensors for which you would like data to be visualized
Graph data collected by the sensors on the BBC micro:bit

BittyWeb is affordably priced commercial software. BittyWeb makes it really easy to capture metrics as seen by the sensors on the BBC micro:but and plot it on the screen over time (Time Series View). Check them out at – https://www.bittysoftware.com/bittyweb/

If you are looking for a BBC micro:bit, electronics starter kits for the BBC micro:bit or some of the robotics kits you can use with the BBC micro:bit we recommend you drop by our online store here – <OzToyLib>.

I’ve bought my BBC micro:bit, now what – If you’ve just bought your BBC micro:bit we would highly recommend heading over to our Learning Management System (www.kidzcancode.com) and checking out the various development tracks and tutorials on the BBC micro:bit. At KidzCanCode you will find FREE tutorials on coding, electronics and robotics for the BBC micro:bit.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop us an email, we will be more than happy to help you out. Head over to the official BBC makecode website at https://makecode.microbit.org and explore the different tutorials they’ve got to offer. Also check out the different articles we’ve got for you at our blog. You can also check out the BittyWeb application at –
https://www.bittysoftware.com/bittyweb/

Hopefully you have enjoyed the post. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future tutorials drop us a note at – learning at hack2 dot live.

FREE STEM learning at KidzCanCode – At KidzCanCode.com we offer FREE access to various STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, Math) related courses. At KidzCanCode.com you will find development tracks, tutorials on Scratch 3, BBC Micro:Bit, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, 3D modelling, Robotics and Electronics.

If you are looking for a BBC micro:bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, starter kits, electronics kits, robotics kits including other STEM learning kits we would recommend you drop by our online store here – <OzToyLib>.

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