We think of Robotics as the science of building devices that physically interact with their environment. The most useful robots do it precisely, powerfully, repeatedly, tirelessly, fast, or some combinations of these. The most interesting robots maybe even do it intelligently. This course will cover the fundamentals of robotics, focusing on both the mind and the body. We will learn about two core robot classes: kinematic chains (robot arms) and mobile bases. For both robot types, we will introduce methods to reason about 3–dimensional space and relationships between coordinate frames. For robot arms, we will use these to model the task of delivering a payload to a specified location. For mobile robots, we will introduce concepts for autonomous navigation in the presence of obstacles. Class projects will make use of ROS – the open–source Robot Operating System (www.ros.org) widely used in both research and industry. Computer requirements for working on the projects will include a computer set up with Ubuntu Linux and high bandwidth internet access for downloading and installing ROS packages.
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