Mechanical & Materials Engineering


MECH456 : Introduction to Robotics



Dr. L. NotashRoom 320, McLaughlin Hall leila.notash@queensu.ca(613) 533-6778

Course Description

This course will cover the following topics in the field of robotics: historical development; robot components (sensors, actuators, and end effectors, and their selection criteria); basic categories of robots (serial and parallel manipulators, mobile robots); mobility/constraint analysis; workspace analysis; rigid body kinematics (homogeneous transformation, angle and axis of rotation, Euler angles, roll-pitch-yaw angles, cylindrical and spherical coordinates); manipulator kinematics and motion trajectories (displacement and velocity analyses, differential relations, Jacobian matrix); non-redundant and redundant sensing/actuation of manipulators; manipulator statics (force and stiffness); singularities; and manipulator dynamics. (0/0/0/21/21)

PREREQUISITES: MECH350 or MTHE332 (MATH332) or ELEC443 or permission of the instructor


Objectives and Outcomes

By the end of this course, learners should be able to:

1:   Appreciate the historical development of robotics over centuries; starting as an art and gradually introducing applications, while pure mechanical systems are being replaced with mechatronic systems

2:   Demonstrate an understanding of the robot selection requirements and available choices, robot components and pertinent terminology in modelling, analyzing and designing robot manipulators

3:   Calculate the degree of freedom of mechanisms and robot manipulators by investigating the freedoms and constraints introduced by their joints, while appreciating the limitation of method; as well as design layouts of serial manipulators for the required motions

4:   Investigate the challenges in designing robot manipulators for a specific environment and demonstrate an understanding of the problem

5:   Develop the model of serial manipulators (planar, spherical and spatial) and analyze their forward and inverse kinematics

6:   Demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of orthogonal matrices, including rotation and reflection matrices; as well as apply them for the kinematic modelling and analysis of manipulators

7:   Formulate the generalized inverses of linear systems of equations with non-square matrices in order to solve overdetermined and under-determined problems, while appreciating the need for weighting matrices in inverse formulation when the entries of the coefficient matrix of linear systems have different units; as well as apply them to analyze the redundant and over-constrained manipulators

8:   Calculate the required forces/toques from actuators for a given manipulator payload and vice versa (static and dynamic cases), and the deflections of operation point (accuracy) as a result of forces/moments applied on the manipulator; while appreciating the limitation of methods based on assumptions exercised

9:   Identify the singular configurations of manipulators when they lose one or more motions, as well as avoid and/or eliminate them through proper design and/or by employing redundancy

10: Effectively utilize, implement and communicate the gained knowledge on the design, modelling, analysis, and simulation of robot manipulators in the assignments and course project (using the four phases of systems’ life cycle: analysis, design, implementation and maintenance).


Relevance to the Program

Course Structure and Activities

3 lecture hours + 1 tutorial hour per week. Please refer to SOLUS for times and locations.


Reading material: MECH 456 (Custom ed.) L. Notash (Campus Bookstore)