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Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19

Course Overview

Robotics is an essential component of Industry 4.0. The adoption of robots in industries worldwide is on the rise and robotic arms are the most successful robotic platform.

The course introduces students to the analysis and use of robot arms, by exposing them to the theoretical basis of robotics as well as their practical implementation. This course focuses on the kinematics, dynamics and control of robotic arms.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No

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What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Postgraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course focuses on the fundamentals of robotic arms, including kinematics, dynamics, and control. The aim is to provide a complete introduction to the most important concepts in these subjects as applied to industrial robot arms, also called manipulators. Robots have several features that make them attractive in an industrial environment. The advantages that make robots successful in the industrial environments are increased precision and productivity, decreased labor costs, re-programmability and flexibility in operation, and enhanced safety for human workers as hazardous jobs are performed by robots. There is an abundance of robotics applications that are impractical or undesirable for humans and could be performed using robot manipulators. Examples are search and rescue after earthquakes and during fires, defusing of explosive devices, caring for patients with contagious diseases, working in radioactive environments, space exploration and satellite repair. The methods of analysis and design of industrial manipulators are also required for prostheses, such as artificial limbs, which are themselves robotic devices.

By the end of the course students are expected to understand the ways in which robots are used in industrial and other relevant applications; the key parameters for selecting robots for specific applications; and the essentials of robot kinematics, dynamics and control.

Main topics

  • Forward kinematics
  • Inverse kinematics
  • Velocity kinematics
  • Dynamics
  • Force control

Course content

  1. Introduction to industrial robot arms, definitions
  2. Mathematical modelling and symbolic representation of robots: links, joints, end-effector, kinematic chains, degrees of freedom, kinematic redundancy, workspace
  3. Types of manipulators: articulated, spherical, Cartesian and parallel
  4. Rigid motions and homogeneous transformations: representing positions, representing rotations, rotation in the plane, rotations in three dimensions, rotational transformations, composition of rotations, rotation with respect to the current frame, rotation with respect to the fixed frame, Euler angles, roll, pitch, yaw angles, homogeneous transformations
  5. Forward kinematics: kinematic chains, the Denavit-Hartenberg convention and its existence and uniqueness issues, assigning the coordinate frames, examples
  6. Inverse Kinematics: geometric approach, kinematic decoupling, inverse position and orientation, examples
  7. Velocity kinematics - the Jacobian, skew symmetric matrices, angular velocities: the fixed and general case, derivation of the Jacobian, angular velocity in the Jacobian, linear velocity in the Jacobian, examples, the analytical Jacobian, singularities, inverse velocity and acceleration, manipulability
  8. Dynamics: the Euler-Lagrange equations, general expressions for kinetic and potential energy, equations of motion, properties of robot dynamic equations, Newton-Euler formulation

Force control: Coordinate frames and constraints, network models and impedance, task space dynamics and control, safety in human-robot interaction

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

There are no assessments for this course.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
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