ME 449 Robotic Manipulation (Archive Fall 2014)

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Fall Quarter 2014


Course Summary

Mechanics of robotic manipulation, computer representations and algorithms for manipulation planning, and applications to industrial automation, parts feeding, grasping, fixturing, and assembly.


Grading for the course will be based on problem sets and a final project. There will be no exams.

Course Text

"Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control," F. C. Park and K. M. Lynch. These course notes will be undergoing revision throughout the quarter; check the timestamp in the table of contents.

Summary of important equations.


  • Assignment 1, due Thursday Oct 9 at the beginning of class
  • Assignment 2, due Tuesday Oct 28 at the beginning of class
  • Assignment 3, due Tuesday Nov 11 at the beginning of class Thursday Nov 6 at the beginning of class. Be prepared to do a demo of your numerical inverse kinematics on a mystery manipulator!
  • Assignment 4, due Thursday Nov 20 at the beginning of class.
  • Assignment 5, due Wednesday Dec 10 at noon; final demos in the classroom at that time

Approximate Syllabus

Configuration Space

reading: Chapter 2

  • degrees of freedom, Grubler's formula, parameterizations, holonomic and nonholonomic constraints

Rigid-Body Motions

reading: Chapter 3, but you may skim/skip 3.2.2, 3.2.4

  • rotation matrices, Euler angles, exponential coordinates, unit quaternions
  • angular velocities
  • rigid-body motions
  • spatial velocities

Forward Kinematics

reading: Chapter 4, but you may skim/skip 4.1 and 4.2.3

  • product of exponentials formula

Velocity Kinematics and Statics

reading: Chapter 5

  • coordinate, space, and body Jacobians
  • statics of open chains, singularities, manipulability

Inverse Kinematics

reading: Chapter 6, but you may skip 6.1

  • 2R example, numerical methods, and redundant open chains

Dynamics of Open Chains

reading: Chapter 8.1 and 8.2 on Lagrangian formulation, rest of the chapter on Newton-Euler and task space coords

  • Lagrangian formulation, dynamics of a single rigid body
  • Newton-Euler inverse and forward dynamics of open chains, dynamics in task space

Trajectory Generation

reading: Chapter 9, but you may skip 9.2 and 9.3

  • definitions and time-optimal time scaling

Motion Planning

reading: Chapter 10 through 10.5.1

  • overview, foundations, and complete path planners
  • grid methods and the RRT sampling method

Robot Control

optional: Chapter 11

Grasping and Manipulation

reading: Chapter 12

  • contact kinematics, planar graphical methods, and form closure
  • contact forces, planar graphical methods, and force closure, Chapter 12.2
  • other manipulation, Chapter 12.3
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