Back to Modern Robotics, Course 1: Foundations of Robot Motion

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Do you want to know how robots work? Are you interested in robotics as a career? Are you willing to invest the effort to learn fundamental mathematical modeling techniques that are used in all subfields of robotics?
If so, then the "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" specialization may be for you. This specialization, consisting of six short courses, is serious preparation for serious students who hope to work in the field of robotics or to undertake advanced study. It is not a sampler.
In Course 1 of the specialization, Foundations of Robot Motion, you will learn fundamental material regarding robot configurations, for both serial robot mechanisms and robots with closed chains. You will learn about configuration space (C-space), degrees of freedom, C-space topology, implicit and explicit representations of configurations, and holonomic and nonholonomic constraints. You will also learn how to represent spatial velocities and forces as twists and wrenches. This material is at the core of the study of anything that moves (e.g., robots).
This course follows the textbook "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" (Lynch and Park, Cambridge University Press 2017). You can purchase the book or use the free preprint pdf. You will build on a library of robotics software in the language of your choice (among Python, Mathematica, and MATLAB) and use the free cross-platform robot simulator V-REP, which allows you to work with state-of-the-art robots in the comfort of your own home and with zero financial investment....

OW

Dec 29, 2021

Very Engineering driven course and you better be ready for the calculations... Made for Engineers.\n\nComing from an Electrical/Electronic background it was really intuitive. I plan on continuing...

AC

Jan 2, 2019

This is the place to start your journey into robotics. But stick to the entire 6 courses. This course is about laying out the basics so don't expect making robots straightaway. All the best!

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By Ashish R

•Feb 3, 2019

Good course, very heavy on theory with little to no example problems. Its good to teach theory but should be followed up with multiple real world problem to solve by hand or code.

By Marcus G

•Feb 9, 2020

Explanations are not clear. I had to get back to my old mechanic books to fully understand the content of the course. As it doesn't show how to apply what you learn it is boring and useless to me. Not worth the money at all.

By Andrew M

•Oct 25, 2018

I wish there was a bit more explanation of some of the equations and derivations. Sometimes the textbook just skips to the final equation, and does not show how it got there. It would be nice if the videos showed the derivation, as opposed to just the equations.

By Lucas R

•Jun 23, 2020

More example exercises. Chapter 3 was very poor at having enough example exercises, and the discussion went deep too fast before showing more examples. The videos should be longer with more explanation of the theory. There are several exercises at the end of the chapter, but before solving those, more examples would be good.

On Youtube, you can find videos that explain a lot more than what is available on the course. The difference is that Youtube is free, and this Course is paid to get the certificate. 2-5min videos clearly are not enough. Any lecture should be is at least an 30-60min long. Relying just on the theory of the book to learn can be very difficult!

The video lectures and the book should complement each other, but this course puts all of the onus of passing the knowledge solely on the book.

By Arnab C

•Jan 3, 2019

This is the place to start your journey into robotics. But stick to the entire 6 courses. This course is about laying out the basics so don't expect making robots straightaway. All the best!

By Saj M

•Nov 6, 2018

Could add more material to help with certain mathematical constructs.

By Ajmeet S D

•Oct 10, 2020

One of the best courses I have ever taken. The textbook really helps with understanding concepts.

Can't wait to finish the remaining courses and get my specialization

By Mohammad J T

•Dec 11, 2019

The overall quality of the course is good, but there were a couple of issues which were a bit unsatisfactory.

For example, I didn't find the videos very engaging and helpful, but rather bland. Professor Lynch simply reads through a prepared text (which is in the background) and gives you an overview of the concepts which I found quite hard to follow. So you need to read the supplied book which, on the other hand, is very clear and rigorous. Thus you may completely ignore the videos, or just refer to them as a wrap-up.

By Sichun X

•May 17, 2020

Really well structured and organized. The material can be slightly overwhelming at times because of the concepts, but once you get a hang of it, it becomes much better!

By SAMARTH

•Sep 15, 2018

I thank both NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY and COURSERA for providing such an wonderfull course, please do this if you want to pursue your career in the field of robotics, and also the professors answer your doubts regularly, so do not think you wont have support, they are really sweet and YES 5 starts are less for this course : )

By Pranesh G

•Jun 10, 2019

it was good intro to the field of robotics. this course has intrigued my interest to learn further in the area of robotics. I would recommend this course for aspiring roboticist

By Youssef D

•Apr 4, 2020

very fundamental course for robotics & it covers all the basics you need to start in robotics field.

thank you Dr Kevin Lynch & Dr Frank Park.

By Mahmoud A M M

•Jun 29, 2018

It's a great course but it need to make more detalied video

By John G

•Dec 20, 2020

Plus 5 points for course content: nice to see a course that isn't afraid of using some mathematics. Very well presented. Minus 2 points for use of peer review for grading. While that might be defensible for a completely free MOOC, it is really unacceptable for a paid course. Take the $$$ you are receiving and pay a TA to develop some better automated quizzes or code review bots, and get rid of the ridiculous and tedious peer reviews.

By Juan C C Z

•May 4, 2018

I like this course and I like the textbook. The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I think it could be a bit more rigorous, e.g., it is explained that postmultiplication is associated to body frame transformations (which is true), but it's exposed dogmatically instead of derived mathematically. I think that approaching Robotics using screw theory and differential equations instead of a more geometric and traditional way is a very good idea, but it calls for a better formalism in the presentation of the themes.

By Jeff S

•Jun 29, 2018

A solid course, which could be improved by exploring from top down instead of bottom up. The course starts with fundamentals spaces, then of rotation matrices, translations then moves to screwstwists, wrenches. I think it would help to have this first course be an overview of robotics: Robots (types) of, the use of forward and inverse kinematics, dynamics, constrained motion, path planning, sensory systems (vision, touch), SLAM, etc.

By Haoran C

•Aug 8, 2018

Rigorous mathematical introduction to rigid body motion combined with practical exercises in MATLAB and V-REP. I hope that the coursera platform can provide more exercises that test deep understanding and more difficult exercises.

By Rishipal S

•Apr 29, 2019

This provides good understanding on the motion of robot. Although some notations were confusing but overall it is a very good course.

By Zhang K

•Mar 31, 2020

I have to say it's a really great class with their textbook which can download, but I think it quite difficult for those people who didn't learn linear algebra and calculous. But I think this courses is excately great for me. I can learn a lot knowledges about Rotation matrix ect.. (Textbook is really great, I think people should download and read it during taking whole classes. (bcs you will find the class is too short it need textbook to let you truely understand those knowledge. ( and the discussion forum is really great place to find some hint from others. Really.)

And thanks for teachers and students who did these series classes for our! Respect!

By Roshan Z

•May 17, 2020

A perfect course for undergraduate engineering students who want to pursue robotics as a career. A perfect balance of difficulty level is maintained, meaning you need to be good at linear algebra (Matrices) and geometrical transformations if you want to excel in this course. And a very basic elementary knowledge of any programming language like Python or MATLAB is desirable. The textbook offered in this course has helped me understand the course at a deeper level whereas the lectures provided an overview of the important points. Awesome course, has been challenging and very interesting!

By Juan C D S

•Mar 21, 2020

I don't like the videos too much to be honest, but the book is awesome as well as the practice exercises. They teach you a lot. The videos help only in cases where visualization of some movement can be useful, but I believe that the course should be given in a way similar to what regular classes look like, giving the lecture regarding the subject using the presentations as a guideline and not just reading what you wrote for an specific video. In general i truly love the course and I hope I can finish the whole program.

By Maksym B

•Jan 19, 2020

Great course, pretty fundamental. The professor is the writer of a book and I really feel that I learned something new by 1. reading the book, 2. watching lectures, 3. answering quizzes. The quality of learning would be much less by just reading a book or just watching lectures, the combination of reading and watching and answering quizzes makes this course great. However I would like to say that one must have good motivation to learn robotics, otherwise, these foundations might seem a bit raw.

By Thomas G

•Oct 8, 2019

This course gives you a good introduction into the topic of the underlying math of robot motion in space. I really enjoyed taking this course. Especially the combination of the videos together with the textbook is supporting both, a quick start and also a deeper understanding of the presented topics. Additionally the quizzes and assignments give you a good idea if you actually understood the topics with immediate feedback. I look forward to take the second course of this specialization.

By Virginia S

•Jan 13, 2020

The videos are very thoughtful and really add to the reading of the textbook. It is nice to have the video visualizations and explanations to augment the derivations. The textbook is well-written and clear, however there will be some extra reading to do if you don't understand linear algebra and matrices already. The quiz questions are challenging, but doable. I would have even liked a few more quiz questions to really practice the material.

By Ramu C

•Sep 2, 2018

This course covers the fundamentals of rigid-body transformations required to make further progress in robotics. It's very well organized and takes the student through the relevant chapters of the textbook co-authored by the instructor. Completing the quizzes, video lectures and reading material should give the student a good background in these areas. In addition, the provided code and simulator exercises add a lot of value.

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