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Two competing low cost development boards have launched today aimed at schools. A RISC-V board themed around the BBC’s Dr Who has been launched on the same day as an updated version of the ARM-based BBC micro:bit.

The BBC HiFive Inventor board (above, left) is the first low cost system for Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) learning programmes based around the RISC-V open source instruction set architecture.

BBC Learning, a division of BBC Studios teamed up with STEM platform developer Tynker and chip maker SiFive on the board and coding lessons narrated by Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. The ‘hand-shaped’ board uses the FE310-G003 from SiFive that is based around the E-31 RISC-V core running at 150MHz, with 64KB of data RAM and 512KB of flash storage. It also has four analogue-to-digital converters, I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO interfaces and a microUSB port. There is also an eCompass sensor, temperature sensor and an ambient light sensor with a matrix of 6×8 LED lights. It can also be powered by a battery pack.


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