The sino:bit a single-board microcontroller designed for computer education in China. It is based on the Calliope miniwith permission of the Calliope mini project. While several modifications are planned, the first was to upgrade the LED matrix from 5×5 to 12×12. This allows for support of Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic and other non-Latin character based languages. Without this, the vast majority of the World’s children cannot experience the thrill of that first “Hello World” in their own language.

The sino:bit was created by Naomi Wu, an Open Source Hardware evangelist and DIY enthusiast. It was executed and engineered by Elecrow Technology, a Shenzhen based electronics company that offers contract manufacturing and engineering services to Maker and Hardware Enthusiasts.

Did you know that the Arduino IDE can be used to program the Sino:bit? Now you have yet another way to use this cool board! Learn how to set up Arduino to program your sino:bit, blink some LEDs, read the internal temperature sensor, send and receive data over Bluetooth - even log data to Adafruit.IO!

The Sino:bit is a derivation of the Calliope Mini, which is a derivative of the BBC Micro:bit. It is based on the same nRF51822 MCU from Nordic. It includes the same accelerometer and magnetometer. It provides 2 user readable buttons. It has a matrix of LEDs for displaying whatever you want. There is a micro USB connector for programming it, and a JST 3v battery connector for when you don't want to be tied to a desktop or laptop. Finally, there is the ability to add a standard 2x13 0.1" spacing header for adding hardware in a robust way.

There are some differences as well, some of which I believe are significant improvements.

The Sino:bit has pads/holes for alligator clips, but there are 8 . After power and ground, this leaves you with 6 pads for I/O. Also, they are at the 8 corners of the octagonal board, off by themselves so you aren't likely to accidentally short with other signals.

Finally, and this is HUGE, the Sino:bit has a 12x12 LED matrix in place of a 5x5 matrix. While this has many advantages (see a later page) the primary motivation is to be able to display non-roman alphabets, specifically Chinese.

Pick up a Sino:bit and follow along on how you can do some pretty advanced things with it!

Another thing that makes the Sino:bit special is that has the distinction of being the very first OSHWA certified open source hardware in China.

This guide was first published on Dec 06, 2017. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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