by Peter Corke

Starting Time September 9, 2019

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The world needs people who understand how to get robots moving.


Discover how robots can be programmed to move.

Making robots move requires both mathematical knowledge and programming skills. We begin with the problem of describing where things are in the world. Starting simply, we consider objects in a two-dimensional plane, exploring the concepts of position, pose, rotation, and translation.

Robot movement relies on the principles of kinematics – the motion of a body or bodies. You’ll program forward kinematics equations in MATLAB and learn approaches to inverse kinematics.

We examine types of motion in 2D, and dive into some principles of joint control theory. We finish with a taste of 3D robotics!

This course assumes that you are familiar with concepts from advanced high-school mathematics or engineering; in particular, analytic geometry and linear algebra (including points, vectors, matrices, matrix-vector and matrix-matrix multiplication, and linear transformations).

You’ll also need to know how to program in MATLAB to complete the practical exercises. You won’t need to download the MATLAB software to complete this course (unless you already have it and wish to use it), as you will be linked directly into an online version of MATLAB through FutureLearn.

Everything you need to succeed in this course is provided, or can be downloaded for free. If you’d like to attempt the exercises throughout this course, you will be using a program called MATLAB. With support from MathWorks, free access to MATLAB will be provided for the duration of the course plus 30 days.

All exercises are embedded in the course, so you don’t need to have MATLAB to participate.

However, if you’d like to follow along with Professor Corke’s MATLAB demonstrations, work on the exercises, or explore topics on your own, MathWorks has provided a licence for MATLAB Online for this course. We will guide you through the setup of MATLAB and the Robotics Toolbox at the beginning of the course. The use of MATLAB is what will really give you a powerful learning experience, letting you try out the exercises and examples provided.

If you have not used MATLAB before, and would like to take a two-hour introductory course, please check out the MATLAB Academy’s MATLAB Onramp course. This covers the MATLAB basics with walk-through activities. This is an optional activity.


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