Bio-Robotics Lab (Fall 2007)

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Course Logistics

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
Class Time: M-W-F 14:00->14:50
Class Location: UCross Rm 149
Office Hours: UCROSS147 Wed and Fri 12-2pm and by appointment
Course Instructor: William C. Regli, Ph.D.
Teaching Assistants: Peter Thai <> and Duc Nguyen <>
Instructor Contact: Email regli (at) drexel (DOT) edu (not that this will help keep the spammers away)
Phone 215.895.6827; Office: UC 143

Course Objectives and Outcomes

The goal of this class is to learn how to create software to interact with devices embodied in the physical world. Students successfully completing this class will:

  1. understand the basic concepts of robotics (from a computer-science point of view), including kinematics, dynamics, actuators, controllers, etc;
  2. perform software development to control mobile robots (specifically iRobot Roombas);
  3. design experiments for robotic platforms;
  4. measure the effectiveness of a robotic system on a given problem;
  5. gain experience with biologically-inspired robotics techniques (swarming, biologically inspired design, etc)
  6. employ cyber-infrastructure (wikis, web, etc) and engineering informatics tools (CAD, simulation, MATLAB, Maple, Pro/E, SolidWorks, ACIS, etc) to better understand the relationship between virtual models and the real world


Date Assignment Topic Summary Notes Links and References
September 24

Intro to Robot Lab


Introduction to Robotics Media:Introduction_to_Robotics.ppt
September 26 Simulation Media:Simulation_of_Robotic_Systems.ppt
September 26 Simulation Media:Simulation_of_Robotic_Systems.ppt
Week of October 8th Assignment 1 due Robotics Videos


Required texts and readings:

  1. Intelligence without Representation, Rodney Brooks.
  2. Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us (Paperback) by Rodney Brooks, Publisher: Vintage (February 4, 2003); ISBN-10: 037572527X.
  3. Introduction to the Kalman Filter
  4. SLAM for Dummies

Interested students may wish to examine the following textbooks:

  • J.J. Craig. Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control. Prentice Hall; 3rd edition, 2003.
  • Kiyoshi Toko. Biomimetic Sensor Technology. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • Karl Williams. Amphibionics: Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian Robot. McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics, 2003.
  • David Cook. Robot Building for Beginners. Apress, 2002.


The due dates are listed on the week by week breakdown of the course below. When an assignment is due on a particular date, that means the assignment is really due that week. You must arrange a time one of the TAs for this class, during the week the assignment is due in order to have your assignment evaluated and graded. As there are limited slots per TA session, it is best to schedule a time slot sooner rather than later. You also will have the opportunity to have your work graded after the lecture during the due week.


Depending on the evolution of the class, students may have an opportunity to gain experience with a variety of computational tools, including MATLAB, SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, ACIS, MAPLE, etc. Several research prototype tools may also be introduced for physics-based modeling, kinematics, etc.

Processing Setup

Download Eclipse here [1]

Miscellaneous Resources

Wiki page for Winter 2007 Roomba Lab: [2]

Page from Spring 2007 Robotics Lab: [3]

iRobot Create Forums: [4]

Robotics Primer Workbook based around the Create [5]