Picobot: Low-Cost, Feature-Rich Arduino-Compatible Robot

Picobot – Low-Cost Open-Source Robot for Education and Fun!


For little more than the cost of an Arduino Uno, you can buy a compatible product that works directly with the Arduino IDE and has built in motors, sensors and LEDs. You can add to this with plug-in modules for ultrasonic distance measurement and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity

Buy it here

PCB 50 x 50mm
With wheels, width is 80mm
Including ultrasonic and rear LED, length is 75mm
Height without ultrasonic is diameter of wheels (42mm)
Height with Ultrasonic is 48mm

The circuit schematic and example code is Open Source and available for anyone to make their own. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA
The design files and basic program examples are on the 4tronix GitHub
The library and 3D printable case are from Martin Bateman

Also available as a Starter Pack with 2 Picobots, programming cable and batteries

Save even more by purchasing a Class Pack of 6 or more

Some example activities:
Without RF Connectivity:

  • Line following
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Light seeking
  • Light avoiding
  • Colour reaction to environment Light vs Distance, Colour vs Light received, etc
  • Follow my leader (pulse the rear LED and get second Picobot to follow a pulsing white light)
  • Stay fixed distance from object/person – eg. get it to follow you around

With RF Connectivity:

  • Synchronise colours
  • Dance in sync
  • All follow the command of a leader
  • Send commands or data from a Raspberry Pi or PC
  • Classic swarming behaviour: react to alarms, searching, clustering, identifying

Video of Picobots preparing to follow each other

Base Model Comprises:

  • Ready assembled – just push on the wheels and screw in the front caster assembly
  • Arduino compatible ATMega328P-AU (with 2 additional analog inputs)
  • 2 x N20 geared motors with “biscuit” 42mm diameter wheels
  • 2 forward facing light sensors
  • 2 line sensors
  • 2 paired RGB LEDs underneath for mood lighting and status information depending how you want to program them – they both show the same colour, not independent
  • Rear facing bright white LED – useful for “follow my leader”
  • Mode selection button – general purpose input button that you can program yourself
  • On – Off switch
  • Reset button
  • Socket for ultrasonic distance sensor HC-SR04
  • Socket of 2.4GHz RF module – nRF24L01 or compatible
  • Socket for programming (requires a USB to serial converter such as a CP2102 module with DTR, must be pin for pin compatible with the one 4tronix sell)
  • NB. Basic model does not include battery or battery holder as you can use any LiPo or LiOn battery or battery holder with 2-pin JST plug (check the polarity)

Available Upgrades and Options:

  • Ultrasonic distance sensor HC-SR04
  • Programming module and USB cable (CP2102 USB to Serial converter)
  • 2.4GHz transceiver nRF24L01 or compatible (NB. this is not Bluetooth and a similar transceiver is required to connect to other devices)
  • 3-Cell AA battery holder
  • Lithium Ion battery (similar to PS3 controller batteries, but polarity is reversed)
  • Lithium polymer battery (various capacities)