Braitenberg vehicles and Arduino – how to make a robot

In a now classic book, Valentino Braitenberg described a thought experiment in which, by building simple robots with motors and sensors we can obtain a set of machines exhibiting surprisingly complex behavioural repertoire. Braitenberg vehicles „love” or „hate” objects in their environment, they can learn new things and, to an observer, seem to be really intelligent creatures.

The book shows how complex behaviors can be generated by simple mechanisms and create a great starting point for thinking about animal behavior and the function of the nervous system.

In our next workshop, we will use Arduino to build robots inspired by Braitenberg vehicles. Our machines will search for light or avoid it, will detect obstacles, exhibit „feelings” towards other robots and many more. We will illustrate each of our vehicles with analogous mechanisms that can be found in real living systems, from bacteria to animals.

Beyond that, our workshop will be a great introduction to Arduino robotics. You will learn how to write and organize more complex Arduino code and how to combine many sensors with many effectors in an efficient way, how to use more advanced libraries and communication protocols.

Workshop will take place March 23-24th (weekend), 9AM – 4 PM. Please find the application form here. We wait for applications until March 12th.

We require a basic experience with Arduino programming.

The cost of the workshop is 50 PLN.


Mateusz Kostecki is a PhD student in Nencki Institute. He works on social transmission of information in rodents; he is interested in nervous system evolution, developmental psychobiology and robotics.