Maker giant Pimoroni has recently launched the first few members of its new family of micro:bit accessories. Alongside add-ons for environmental sensing, sound output and display, the simplest board in their armoury is pin:bit, which converts the edge connector on the bottom of the micro:bit to a set of breadboard-compatible, 0.1"-spaced pins.
The board costs a fairly reasonable £5 and is available from Pimoronis own website - with re-sellers expected to stock the product soon. It arrives pre-soldered and is ready to use for projects straight out of the box.
It's worth noting that, unlike most of its competitors, the pin:bit doesn't break out all the pins on the edge connector of the micro:bit; but focuses on a handy selection (leaving out those used for the built-in LED matrix). This makes the board arguably easier to use for beginners - and also makes it compatible with smaller 140-point breadboards, which are commonplace in schools and makers' toolboxes. The pins themselves are helpfully labelled in a friendly way, and the design is lovely and playful.
We tested pin:bit with an Adafruit NeoPixel Ring, some pushbuttons and a microphone - and it made prototyping quick and easy, allowing us to use all different pins for more advanced projects. You could also use the pin:bit to hook the micro:bit up to more permanent projects, by soldering directly to the pins or using a piece of stripboard to make connections.
There aren't currently any learning resources for pin:bit on the Pimoroni website - but there is an excellent guide to the micro:bits pins on the micro:bit Foundation's website at [go.micromag.cc/pins435fd](go.micromag.cc/pins435fd) which can be used with pin:bit. The pin:bit also hangs down a little if placed on the edge of the breadboard - but in practice, this isn't really a problem and the connections are sound.
Where to Buy
The pin:bit is a great way to get started with using more pins of the micro:bit for more advanced projects - and the friendly design and ease-of-use make it ideal for use with kids, as long as you have learning materials to hand.