Neurorobots for Education

Learning neuroscience by designing brains for car-like robots


  • Affordable neurorobots with cameras, speakers, microphones, and Wi-Fi® 
  • Real-time visualization of sensory input and brain activity 
  • User-friendly design interface to build spiking neural networks 
  • Project-based learning exercises developed by neuroscientists and educators


There is a growing, unmet need for neuroscience research tools in the classroom, given both student interest and a lack of effective treatments for neurological diseases. Backyard Brains proposes using neurorobots as an introduction to brain function in the K–12 classroom. Neurorobots are autonomous systems in which computer simulations of biological brains are used to control the sensors and motors of robots, generating lifelike, sensory-guided, goal-directed behavior as a result. Neurorobotics has enormous potential as a technology for education because it combines multiple activities with clear educational benefits, including robotics, neuroscience, and active learning. Backyard Brains is developing user-friendly neurorobots and curriculum for high school and informal learning. The robots use wheels, speakers, cameras, and other sensors to navigate and interact with their environments. Students use a GUI to visualize and modify the neurorobots’ brains in real time. By building neural networks to solve challenges such as “make the robot approach moving objects,” students learn fundamental neuroscience concepts and computational thinking and develop self-conception as neuroscientists and engineers.

Backyard Brains’ neurorobots continuously collect sensory information, send it to a brain simulator running on a wirelessly connected laptop, and receive motor and speaker commands in return. Brain simulation, wireless communication, and an interface for real-time user interaction are all written in MATLAB®. A brain design interface (also in MATLAB) allows users to construct spiking neural networks for the robots. The neurorobots also have optional interfaces to additional MATLAB toolboxes, including Image Acquisition Toolbox™ and Image Processing Toolbox™ (vision), Deep Learning Toolbox™ (real-time object detection), and Instrument Control Toolbox™ (Bluetooth®).


Backyard Brains

308 1/2 S State St Suite 35
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Tel: 855-438-7745
[email protected]

Required Products

Recommended Products


  • Windows


  • Consulting
  • E-mail
  • On-site assistance
  • Telephone
  • Training

Product Type

  • Robotics Systems


  • Computational Biology
  • Image Processing and Computer Vision
  • Mechatronics and Robotics
  • Real-Time Systems
  • System Modeling and Simulation


  • Biotech and Pharmaceutical
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Neuroscience