First version of the Braitenberg vehicles

My thesis at CIID is about objects with personality and the different ways there are to implement “artificial” personality in otherwise stupid objects. As part of my research I have decided to take a closer look at Valentino Braitenberg’s work with synthetic psychology in the beginning of the 80′s. Especially his investigations in the book “Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology” where he designed the rather famousĀ Braitenberg vehicles.

The vehicles are extremely simple electronic objects, that seem to show a specific personality from their actions. The interesting thing is, that they are in fact extremely stupid, but because we (humans) only look at their actions without knowing why they act as they do, we tend to project our own logic and reason to them and thereby give them a personality that they actually don’t have. It sounds a bit complicated, but actually it isn’t – it’s just because I can’t explain it properly yet :)

I decided to base them on Arduino, though it might be overkill – the reason I did it is to keep flexibility, so that I later can upload more advanced firmware to the bots. Here’s a photo I took of one of my boards – unfortunately I put it upside down!

Anyway, of course I also snapped some photos of the first vehicle and it’s half-finished sibling today. Here they are:

Braitenberg vehicle - side view

You can see more photos in my Flickr photoset.

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