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Introduction to Robotics: Learning Kinematics to Make Robots Move

Develop the programming skills you need to get robots moving as you learn why robots are an important technology in our society.

24,608 enrolled on this course

Factory robot arm holding a Perspex plate, blue and green digital background.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Discover how robots can be programmed to move

This three-week course delves into the growing world of the robotics industry, and what it takes to make robots move.

You’ll begin by exploring the capabilities of robots and learning the mathematics behind robotic movement.

With this knowledge, you’ll consider objects in a two-dimensional plane, exploring the concepts of position, pose, rotation, and translation, as you unpack the process of how robots work and move.

Understand the principles of kinematics including forward and inverse kinematics

Robot movement relies on the principles of kinematics – the motion of a body or bodies.

You’ll develop your programming skills as you learn how to program forward kinematics equations in practical MATLAB assignments.

You’ll also learn approaches to inverse kinematics and dive into principles of join control theory to increase your theoretical and practical knowledge of robotic movement.

Move on to advanced techniques in 3D robotics

Guided by the experts at the Queensland University of Technology, you’ll get a taste of 3D robotics to understand the complexity of types of motion in 3D.

By the end of the course, you’ll feel comfortable in being able to explain the capabilities of robots, with an understanding of the mathematics and programming behind making a robot move.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds The world is going to need a lot of people who understand robotics. Are you up for that challenge? The robotics industry is going through explosive growth at the moment. As the capability of robots increases, we’re going to see them play a more and more important part in all of our lives. If you love figuring out how things work, then you’ll enjoy learning the mathematics behind how robots move. Try out your programming skills in practical MATLAB assignments, and program your robot to do a useful task. My name is Professor Peter Corke, join me in the exciting challenge of making robots move.

What topics will you cover?

  • Geometry and vectors for robotics
  • Position, pose, orientation, rotation and translation: describing where things are in the world.
  • Types of robots: forms and functions
  • Forward and inverse kinematics
  • Types of motion in 2D
  • Joint control
  • A taste of 3D robotics

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • 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 robot tool pose.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for those with some knowledge of advanced high-school mathematics or engineering – in particular, analytic geometry and linear algebra.

You should also know how to program in MATLAB to complete the practical exercises.

What software or tools do you need?

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.

Who will you learn with?

Professor of Robotic Vision at QUT and Director of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (ACRV). Peter is also an IEEE fellow and on the editorial board of several robotics research journals.

Dr Pepperell completed his PhD in robotic vision at QUT in 2016, with a research focus in vision-based place recognition.

Hello! I'm Obadiah, a sessional academic at Queensland University of Technology. I've taught robotics and control engineering courses and MOOCs, and have worked as a robotic vision researcher at QUT.

Hello! I'm Dorian, a PhD Researcher with the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision researching computational imaging and light field cameras for more robust robotic vision with transparent objects.

Who developed the course?

Queensland University of Technology

QUT is a leading Australian university ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide by the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Located in Brisbane, it attracts over 50,000 students.

  • Established

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 180Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019

Endorsers and supporters

content provided by

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision

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