A chain of 350 robots. That’s the Guinness World Record that VUB/imec professor Bram Vanderborght and researchers Ellen Roels and GabriΓ«l Van De Velde are going for at the Nerdland Festival. With their colleagues from the VUB research group BruBotics, they aim to introduce people to robots. The collaborative record attempt will be made on Sunday 28 May between 15.00 and 18.00.

The robots respond to light with their built-in sensors. The more light, the faster their arms move. They also have a heart that can change colour via adjustments to the base code. Visitors aged seven and above can help assemble, program and decorate the robots on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May until 15.00. The current record for a chain of robots is held by a school in Hong Kong with a chain of 255 robots, built in 2007.

All the robots are on a tower block made by the carpentry department of VUB’s infrastructure team. BruBotics designed it, as well as designing the robots, and the Fablab cut out all the robot parts using lasers. The project is a collaboration between BruBotics, VUB and imec, an international Flemish research centre for nanoelectronics and digital technology.

Prof Vanderborght: β€œWe really hope to set that record. With the help of the visitors, young and old, we should succeed. Because they can work with the robots themselves, we not only want to generate interest in robot technology, but also give people the right idea about what such technology actually entails and take away the fear of robots. Nerdland is an ideal festival to do that in a playful way.”


Nerdland is Belgium’s largest open-air science festival. During the event, you’ll be immersed in a world of exciting shows, talks by researchers, workshops and experiments. All with one common denominator. Scientists Lieven Scheire and Hetty Helsmoortel welcome the curious on 26, 27 and 28 May at Domein Puyenbroeck in Wachtebeke.

VUB researchers on Nerdland

As well as BruBotics, other VUB scientists will be at the festival.

  • Movement scientist Ruben Debeuf is in the show Cyborg, about the boundaries between man and machine. Ruben shows off his gaming app Ghostly for muscle training.
  • Natural scientist Vincent Ginis appears on the show of science magazine Eos.
  • -Communication scientist Pieter Duysburgh joins the stand of Amai!, all about artificial intelligence.
  • -Philosopher Jean Paul Van Bendegem talks about Frankenstein.

The whole programme can be found on the Nerdland Festival website.

About BruBotics

The Brussels Human Robotics Research Centre (BruBotics) is a joint initiative of eight research groups at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel that aim to improve the quality of life through human robotics. With more than 100 researchers combining expertise in robotics, AI, rehabilitation, physiology, sociology, ageing, marketing and e-health, BruBotics is one of the leaders in European human robotics research.