Tiny light-seeking robots


[Alex] continues to delight us with his projects. His third-generation tiny Braitenberg vehicle, a light seeking robot, is a big improvement over its predecessor, the mini Braitenberg vehicle. He’s moved from an Arduino based design to using the AVR ATtiny25v, replaced the breadboard with a PCB, and reduced the parts count. We think it was a great idea to use shrink tubing to shield the back of the photo-resistors from ambient light. Don’t miss the video of these little guys chasing a flashlight beam after the break.


  1. alaysias says:

    great video! i love how they follow the light. kudos to alex for making the braitenberg vehicle even smaller [and rid of arduino]

  2. ejonesss says:

    looks like they may be adapted for use to drive a solar tracker

  3. Pilotgeek says:

    I’ve done the same thing with simple analog circuitry. Hear that guys? Analog. It used to exist a long, long time ago.
    // Makes analog robots form scratch.

  4. Adam Ziegler says:

    Back in ~2002 ish time frame I remember free for circuits that was basically a solar engine for charging a cap. When charged, it would release through a small motor or blinking light. If done correctly, one could use a couple leds and a couple little pager motor to “seek light.” @pilotgeek… yeah… these were analog also! here is a relevant link: http://www.solarbug.com/solar.html

  5. threepointone says:

    surface mount, anyone?

  6. cyanide says:

    i want to see some really cheap, really energy efficient lightning bug robots out there. like, you’d pay $5 to make one or something, and on its own it would seek out light like these guys. but in groups they can communicate and figure out who is getting more light. be able to send out scouting robots. ie, robot #1-4 stays on the floor around your lamp collecting energy with solar panels while robot #5 is sent out to see how much light is coming from your monitor. make a hundred of them and let them loose in a state park, that’d be awesome.
    especially if they were shaped like crabs.

  7. Karl says:

    For one of the first examples of this, look at:
    http://www.copperwood.com/Carl_and_Jerry-V19N05-The_Lightning_Bug.pdf – this was written back in 1963 by By John T. Frye W9EGV – although only a story I was able to build a version from the info.

  8. Richard says:

    Nothing new here, guys. I’ve been building BEAM robots for about 12 years and the total parts count on most of these robots is around 12, including the motors and wheels. No CPU, either. It’s a great way to learn electronics especially for the younger folks.


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