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ELEC60030 Robotic Manipulation

Lecturer(s): Dr Adam Spiers


Robotic technology continues to increase in presence, with growing demands for semi-autonomous systems that can perform manipulation on physical objects in a wide range of scenarios (e.g industrial, warehouse, domestic, exploratory). This module will focus on the design, modelling and control of robotic arms and grippers. Theoretical approaches to low-level robot modelling and motion generation will be complemented by hands-on laboratory sessions using desktop-size robotic arms. Further applied aspects will involve using CAD software to design and 3D print robotic grippers for different tasks.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

1. Represent the position and orientation of objects in space
2. Determine the kinematic model of a robot arm based on its links and points of articulation.
3. Compute the position of pose of a robot's body and gripper based on its joint angles (Forward kinematics) and also compute the joint angles necessary to position the robot gripper at a target (Inverse Kinematics)
4. Implement robotic motion trajectories using different control techniques, including joint vs. task space and position vs. velocity control.
5. Understand the principles of dynamic modelling and force / torque control (this may not be implemented on the physical robot due to hardware limitations).
6. Understand the different robotic approaches to grasping / object picking (e.g. parallel jaw grippers, adaptive grasping, underactuation, grasp planning and vacuum grippers)
7. Use CAD software to design a simple robot gripper for manipulation of specific objects (e.g. a ping-pong ball, a soda can, a toy car, a 6-sided dice). The gripper will be 3D printed for physical testing in labs.
8. Program low-level motion controllers to execute and test all of the above on lab-based physical desktop-size robot arms and grippers. The language used will probably be Matlab.
9. Appreciate some of the ways that machine learning is being used in contemporary robotic manipulator research and practical implementation.


Exam Duration: N/A
Coursework contribution: 80%

Term: Spring

Closed or Open Book (end of year exam): N/A

Coursework Requirement:

Oral Exam Required (as final assessment): N/A

Prerequisite module(s): None required

Course Homepage: unavailable

Book List: