Arduino + Parallax Board of Education (BOE) Bot


How can I teach my students the basics of Tinkering, Hardware Hacking, Robotics, Circuitry, Electronics, Interaction Design, Hardware Design, and Computer Programming?



Students will be expected to... 

  • Assemble their BOE-Bot
  • Follow the provided instructions
  • Attach, or plug-in, wires, circuitry, and electronics as described in the instructions
  • Program their Arduino microcontroller
  • Troubleshoot their hardware and software
  • Ask questions when they get stuck


Robotics and interaction design are incredibly important to today's visual artists. This project is an excellent way to introduce your students to the concepts, language, tools, and processes required in the visual arts today.

Student Safety

  • Read all instructions carefully
  • Only attach the electronics as described in the instructions
  • When not in use please keep the Boe-Bot unplugged, powered off, and/or in '0' (power-only mode)
  • Do not allow anything from this kit to be placed into a student's mouth at any time
  • If a student gets injured please follow regular first aid or safety protocols

Included Parallax Inc. Tutorials

  1. Your BOE-Bot's Brain
  2. Shield, Lights, and Servo Motors

  3. Assemble and Test your Boe-Bot
  4. BOE-bot Navigation
  5. Tactile Navigation with Whiskers
  6. Light-Sensitive Navigation with Photo-transistors
  7. Navigation with Infrared Headlights
  8. Robot Control with Distance Detection

Suggested Activities

  • Students should complete the standard  Tutorials provided by Parallax Inc.
  • Students should decide which configuration works best for them
  • Students should 'hack' or 'modify' their stock BOE-Bot to function within a student-generated art installation and/or performance

Suggested Review Questions

  • What is a microcontroller?
  • What programming language is Arduino based on?
  • Why do visual arts students need to understand programming?
  • What is Tinkering?
  • What is Interaction Design?
  • Which contemporary artists use robotics or interaction design in their work?

Arduino + BOE Shield

Parallax Inc. BOEBot with Arduino

Parallax Inc. BOEBot with Arduino

The Circuit

'Whiskers' Diagram by Parallax Inc.

'Whiskers' Diagram by Parallax Inc.

Note: Students are encouraged to 'hack'  or 'mod' their robots!