Robot Lab(Spring 2009)

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  • Class will meet weekly, starting April 1, 2009.

Course Logistics

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
Class Time: W 18:00->21:50
Class Location: TBD
Office Hours: By appointment only
Course Instructor: William C. Regli, Ph.D.
Teaching Assistants: Marc Winners <>, Chris Cannon <>,
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

Design, analysis and implementation of multi-robot systems in simulation Robotic systems will be “virtual” and interact in a synthetic environment. Students will have weekly programming assignments with the Player / Stage / Gazebo environment.

At the end of the course, students will

  1. understand the basic concepts of robotics (from a computer-science point of view), including kinematics, dynamics, actuators, controllers, etc;
  2. design experiments for robotic platforms;
  3. gain experience with biologically-inspired robotics techniques (swarming, biologically inspired design, etc)
  4. implement robot control algorithms, both open loop and closed loop
  5. Design robot modeling & simulation experiments
  6. Develop path planning techniques and Simultaneous Location & Mapping (SLAM) algorithms
  7. Work with Robot Teaming and Planning, including flocks, swarms, leader-follower, predator-prey, etc
  8. Have an introduction to human-Robot Teaming


Date Assignment Topic Summary Notes Links and References
April 1

Intro to Robot Lab


Player/Stage/Gazebo Wiki Tutorial, PPT, PDF, Config Files

Introduction to Robotics Media:Introduction_to_Robotics.ppt
April 8 Assignment 0 due Simulation Media:Simulation_of_Robotic_Systems.ppt
April 15 Simulation Media:Simulation_of_Robotic_Systems.ppt XPM manual
April 22 Assignment 1 due Robotics Videos
Week of October 15th SLAM Media:SLAM.ppt
October 22 Assignment 2 due Grading Assignment 2
October 29 Path Planning Media:Robot-Lab-Path-Planning.ppt
November 12 Assignment 3 due
November 19 Thanksgiving holiday, no class Wed 11/21 or Friday 11/23
November 26 BioInspiredRobotDesignAssignment4 is due 11/30 by 5pm


Relevant 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 from UNC.
  4. SLAM for Dummies
  5. J.J. Craig. Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control. Prentice Hall; 3rd edition, 2003.
  6. Kiyoshi Toko. Biomimetic Sensor Technology. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  7. Karl Williams. Amphibionics: Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian Robot. McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics, 2003.
  8. David Cook. Robot Building for Beginners. Apress, 2002.
  9. What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic


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.


This class will be nearly entirely executed in simulation using Play/Stage/Gazebo. Students not comfortable with software development, hacking and programming will find this course difficult, if not impossible. We will not be providing remedial programming or operating systems tutorials in this course. All information needed to execute the assignments is available (or will be made available) on the web, either at the course wiki page or using services like

Miscellaneous Resources

Wiki page for Winter 2007 Roomba Lab: [1]

Page from Spring 2007 Robotics Lab: [2]

iRobot Create Forums: [3]

Robotics Primer Workbook based around the Create [4]