Building a fun, informative and affordable neurorobot



Neurorobots are brain-based robots used in research labs around the world to develop theories of brain function [L,L]. The aim of the vertebot project is to create fun, informative and affordable neurorobots for educators and enthusiasts (see this blog post for details). is written and maintained by Christopher Harris and is licensed under a Creative Commons License (Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike). For up-to date information about the vertebot project, personal neruorobots and related topics, follow vertebot on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Please address comments and questions about the project to

References: R = academic, L = website

Building a neurorobot

Neurorobots implement a causal loop that is fundamental to all animal behavior: signals travel from the brain to motors, causing behavior and change in the outside world, which is perceived by the brain as visual or other sensory information.

Below are instructions for building a neurorobot. The instructions will be updated and improved as the development of the robot proceeds. The long-term aim is a fun, easy-to-use robot that emulates the brain functions of higher vertebrates, including communication, learning, attachment, planning and play. We have a long way to go.

Get a Raspberry Pi. Install Raspbian (instructions). Connect to WiFi (instructions). Find the Pi's IP address (sudo ifconfig, IP address follows inet addr). Enable SSH and use an SSH client like Putty to connect to the Pi from your main workstation (instructions).

Configure I2C (instructions). Install software to run the motor HAT (instructions). Assemble the motor HAT, attach it to the Pi, assemble the robot chassi and attach the Pi (instructions 1). Attach webcameras. Download the latest vertebot brain, copy it to the Pi and run it (download).

Under development, come back soon...