A micro:bit star at 11 years-old

A micro:bit star at 11 years-old

You don’t have to be a hardened coder or techie to have contributed to the amazing micro:bit project. Abbie from Hertfordshire, is just eleven-years-old and has already designed images for the Foundation’s Python Editor and the new MakeCode editor (pxt). If that is not enough, she has also been the inspiration behind several cracking micro:bit games.

Abbie's micro:bit designs

So far, Abbie has created thirteen images for the editors, one of them, the now famous duck image, led to the legendary teleporting duck game. She also helped design the micro:bit version of connect 4 and now has credits in the Python code files and author credits in MicroPython, the version of Python on the micro:bit.

How did this remarkable feat come about? Abbie’s computer club leader remembers the start: “Abbie came to my little Saturday computer club. She really loved the micro:bit and soon started creating images and writing mini games, including connect 4. Abbie designed about half of the game in Blocks and I put it into Python. It was Abbie's idea to use dark and light LEDs for a two-player game, when she showed it to me I said: 'how did you know that?' and she said: 'oh easy, I looked through all the online documentation and saw it there so I tried it and it worked!'.

The micro:bit team had seen Abbie’s work and when an opportunity arose to add more images to the micro:bit’s MicroPython image library, they asked Abbie if she would like to create some of them. She emailed over a word document full of new image designs, the MicroPython team saw them, loved them, coded them up and added them to the standard MicroPython for micro:bit build. When the team developing the new MakeCode editor spotted the fantastic new images they decided to add them to their image library as well.

How easy was it for Abbie to create such important images for the micro:bit? Sarah, Abbie’s mother, fills in the details: “Abbie had fun designing the images. She had lots of ideas and the challenge was to make them recognisable on a 5x5 grid. Abbie wanted to create fun images her friends would like. From cute animals like the duck to a roller skate and t-shirt.” Sarah added: “I think the micro:bit is such a fun way to learn coding. Its full of clever features like the accelerometer and I/O rings as well as the LED's and programmable buttons that allow children to be really creative.”

And what about the young star herself? Well, she is being very modest. “I feel privileged to be allowed to contribute in this way,” she said. “I think it’s cool children all over the country could be using the images I helped design.”

To see examples of Abbie’s work in the editors go to the JavaScript stage in the JavaScript Blocks Editor and type: basic.showIcon(IconNames.Duck) or to the Python Editor and type: display.show(Image.DUCK). For ease, her thirteen lovely designs are below:

Abbie's umbrella
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