About this project


This project introduces the BBC micro:bit's camera functionality, allowing users to take a timed photo using the device.


What you'll need


1 x BBC micro:bit

1 x Micro USB

1 x Computer or tablet

2 x AAA Batteries & Battery Holder


Project walkthrough



  • Under the left-hand commands menu, click 'Input' and find the 'On button [A] pressed do...' tile.


  • We want to tell the device to take a photograph when the 'A' button is pressed. However, we also want to add in a five second delay to allow us to set up the shot. To enable the camera, select 'Devices' from the left-hand menu, and drag in the tile 'Tell camera to [take photo]. Attach to your 'On button [A] pressed do...' tile, and change [take photo] to [launch photo mode].


BBC micro:bit

  • To set up a countdown timer, drag in a 'set [item] to tile, and rename [item] to [counter].


  • Attach a number tile from the 'Maths' menu, and set it to [5].


BBC micro:bit

  • Now we need to tell the timer to start counting down when the A button is pressed. This is a slightly different process to the last time we created a countdown timer (see Project Two). First you'll need to bring in a tile entitled 'for [i] from 0 to [4] do...' and attach it to your code. This tile can be found in the loops menu.


  • In this tile, the [i] simply represents the variable being referenced in the code - in this case, the countdown timer. Feel free to change the name to something that makes more sense to you, but don't use 'counter' as we've already used this as a variable in this code. I've used 'Countdown' in this demo. Also, change the [4] to a [5] to bring it in line with your five second countdown timer.


BBC micro:bit

  • Under 'do', drag in a 'show number' tile from the 'Basic' menu, and drag a 'counter' tile from the Variables menu into the input box.


  • Now drag in a 'change [item] by [1]' tile, also from the Variables menu, change [item] to [counter] and change [1] to [-1], to instruct the timer to count backwards from 5.


  • Finally, drag in another 'Tell camera to [take photo]' tile from the devices menu, and attach this at the bottom, as indicated here:


BBC micro:bit

  • Now hit 'Run' to test out your script on the emulator. When you push the 'A' button the counter should begin counting down from 5 to 0. At zero, the device should take a photo. Compile your script and transfer it to your BBC micro:bit device to test it out for real. You can access your photos from the BBC micro:bit drive when you attach the device to your computer.


Once students have mastered this project, what else can they do with the BBC micro:bit camera functionality? Encourage them to play around with different commands and techniques, and let us know how they get on in the comments section below...