I am trying to build a robot that detects cubes of a certain color, and later picks them up.

I was planning to use a camera and process the image, but I was told that Arduino is not capable of image processing.

Now, I was thinking that I could maybe use a photoresistor that is enclosed by a green light filter sheet (so that only the light of a certain color can pass). Thus, if my robot is facing a cube of the color I want, the photoresistor should detect this.

Is this at all possible? I know how filters work in theory, but I have never used one before.

If not, is there another way to try to detect color using an Arduino?

  • 1
    Through a green filter, white, green and yellow look the same. May 28, 2019 at 18:44
  • There are colors sensors like the TCS230 suggested below, but the object has to be near the sensor to work. They don't work for detecting the block more than a few centimeters away.
    – Gerben
    May 28, 2019 at 18:46
  • @Gerben that depends on the optics. Coupled to a basic looking glass, these sensors could do the trick.
    – tony gil
    May 29, 2019 at 17:25
  • @Nick Heumann , dont forget to award the correct answer checkmark whenever you come to the conclusion that one answer is (the most) correct. That will make it clear that you have ceased actively looking for a solution, since you havent posted a valid answer. Cheers and welcome ;)
    – tony gil
    May 29, 2019 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


Use a TCS230 photo sensor and a 6500K light source to color correct your objects.

enter image description here

This hookup will get you started

enter image description here

This sketch, courtesy of Best-Microcontroller-Projects will get you going. Read the tutorial and dont forget to calibrate.

// Detect colors using TCS230.

// Arduino uno pins for control of TCS230
#define TCS320_OE 7
#define TCS320_S0 10
#define TCS320_S1 11
#define TCS320_S2 2
#define TCS320_S3 3
#define TCS320_OUT 4

#define variance 50  // Acceptable detection error 2%.

#define SEL_RED  \
#define SEL_GREEN \
#define SEL_BLUE \
#define SEL_CLEAR \

#define TWO_PER \

#define debug(a) Serial.println((a));

#define NUMCOL 5

// int RGB[NUMCOL][3]; // Five colors with 3 elements.
// Array of NUMCOL strings len 10. 11 for null.
// char colname[NUMCOL][11];

// Typical values for 2% dividers (set variance to 50).
int RGB[NUMCOL][3]={

char colname[NUMCOL][11]={

void setup() {



   digitalWrite(TCS320_OE,LOW); // On always.

   Serial.println("TCS230 color detector");

unsigned long get_TCS230_reading(void) {
  unsigned long val;
  val = pulseIn(TCS320_OUT,HIGH,20000); // 2000us=2ms  2Hz min.
  return val;

static int clr,red,green,blue;

uint16_t detect(void) {
   unsigned long val;

    red = val = get_TCS230_reading();
    Serial.print("RED: "); Serial.print(val);

    green = val = get_TCS230_reading();
    Serial.print(" GREEN: "); Serial.print(val);

    blue = val = get_TCS230_reading();
    Serial.print(" BLUE: "); Serial.print(val);

    Serial.print(" \n");

int withinEQ(int c, int xl, int xh) {
   if (c>=xl && c<=xh) return 1;
   return 0;

// Compare a value to a value and variance.
int compare(int c, int v, int err) {
int xh=v+err, xl=v-err;
   if (withinEQ(c,xl,xh)) return 1;
   return 0;

void loop() {
uint8_t chr,i,fnd;

   if (Serial.available()>0) {

      chr = Serial.read(); // Consume.

      // Find color match.
      for (i=0;i<NUMCOL;i++) {
     if ( compare(red,RGB[i][0],variance) &&
          compare(green,RGB[i][1],variance) &&
        ) { // Found
          Serial.print("Col is :");
      if (!fnd) Serial.println("NOT Found");

Nice theory but since you're facing real-world conditions and not ideal ones, I think you'll have a hard time with this approach. I.e. your cube is likely not the same shade of green that your filter lets through. What about lighting - do you have a neutral white light source? I recommend you take a look at this Arduino RGB Sensing Tutorial using the TCS230 Colour Sensor for a headstart.

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