Jul 18th 2016

Introduction to Robotics (QUT)

Taught by:

This course is an introduction to the exciting world of robotics and the mathematics and algorithms that underpin it. You’ll develop an understanding of the representation of pose and motion, kinematics, dynamics and control. You’ll also be introduced to the variety of robots and the diversity of tasks to which this knowledge and skills can be applied, the role of robots in society, and associated ethical issues.

If you have access to a Lego Mindstorms kit (9797) you will be able to build a simple robot arm and write the control software for it.

Combined with the Robotic Vision MOOC, this course is based on a 13 week undergraduate course Introduction to Robotics at the Queensland University of Technology.

This course includes an introductory week, followed by six weeks of lectures. Each week includes two video lectures, quizzes and MATLAB programming exercises.

Getting started: Pre-course activities are available in the week prior to week 1. These activities help you prepare for the course.

Week 1: Introduction to robotics and Where things are in 2D

Week 2: Where things are in 3D and Time varying coordinate frames

Week 3: Measuring the motion of things and Robot arms and forward kinematics

Week 4: Inverse kinematics and robot motion and Robot velocity in 2D

Week 5: Robot velocity in 3D and Robot joint control

Week 6: Rigid body dynamics and Robotics and the future

Final week: Submissions and project peer assessment. All quiz and MATLAB assessments must be submitted. Participants who have undertaken the Build a robot arm project must submit their video for peer assessment and participate as a peer assessor.

By the end of this course you should be able to:

- describe and explain what robots are and what they can do

- describe mathematically the position and orientation of objects and how they move

- describe mathematically the relationship between robot joint coordinates and tool pose

- reflect on the future role and development of robots in human society

- compute the rigid-body forces in a robot and design a joint control system (optional advanced material)

- apply the mathematical, algorithmic and control principles of robot arm manipulators to implement a working robot through physical construction and software development (applies to optional project).


Throughout the course you'll have the opportunity to complete assessable quizzes and programming exercises. These will be marked automatically. The programming exercises will consist of several MATLAB tasks and will be based on the lecture content for that week.

Certificate of participation:

If you complete the assessment successfully you will receive a certificate of participation. The certificate does not earn credit points towards a QUT qualification. The overall assessment is worth a total of 240 points (120 points for assessable quizzes and 120 points for MATLAB programming tasks). You need to achieve an overall score of 50% (120 points). The quizzes and programming tasks are weighted equally, so it does not matter how you make up your 120 points.

Optional project:

As an optional project, you can choose to build a simple robot arm and write the software to control it. You'll need a LEGO Mindstorms robotics development kit. This isn't a requirement for the certificate of participation, however it's a valuable opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills. A peer assessment or review process will allow you to share your experience and robot with others, while reviewing the robots your peers build.