16-311 Introduction to Robotics
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Welcome to 16-311 Spring 2024!

This course presents an overview of robotics in practice and research with topics including vision, motion planning, mobile mechanisms, kinematics, inverse kinematics, and sensors.

In course projects, students construct robots which are driven by a microcontroller, with each project reinforcing the basic principles developed in lectures. Students usually work in teams of three: an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a computer scientist. Groups are typically self-formed except for the first lab.

This course will also expose students to some of the contemporary happenings in robotics, including current robotics research, applications, robot contests and robot web surfing.

Who should take
this class:
Juniors, seniors, and advanced sophomores interested in robotics. Before taking this class, students should have a thourough understanding of the concepts here: Prerequisite Knowledge.

Lecture policies:
Students are not permitted to enter after class has started. Electronic devices are prohibited.

Locations and times:
Lecture: Monday & Wednesday
GHC 4307
Recitation: Tuesday
GHC 4215
Lab: Tuesday
Take the place of recitation
Robotics Education Laboratory

Email: 16-311-s24-tas (at) lists.andrew.cmu.edu
Piazza: Sign up here: S2024 Piazza page

Howie Choset

choset (at) cs.cmu.edu
NSH 3205

Peggy Martin
(Howie's secretary)

pm1e (at) andrew.cmu.edu
NSH 3207

Ananya Rao (R)

ananyara (at) andrew.cmu.edu

Tanner Aikens (M)
Daniel Gomez (M)
J.C. Yordy (M)
Ryan Bao (M)
Juno Hoffman (M)
Harry Huang (E)
Freda Su (E)
Xiaoyu Tian (E)
Thomas Chun Fai Lee (M)
Mihir Dhamankar (C)
Preethi Krishnamoorthy (C)
Kai Fergerstrom (C)

taikens (at) andrew.cmu.edu
dgomez (at) andrew.cmu.edu
jyordy (at) andrew.cmu.edu
ryanbao (at) andrew.cmu.edu
jchoffma (at) andrew.cmu.edu
bohanhua (at) andrew.cmu.edu
fysu (at) andrew.cmu.edu
xiaoyut (at) andrew.cmu.edu
chunfai2 (at) andrew.cmu.edu
mdhamank (at) andrew.cmu.edu
preethik (at) andrew.cmu.edu
kfergers (at) andrew.cmu.edu

Here, the color and letter following the student's name indicates their primary undergraduate major ((C) indicates Computer Science, (E) indicates Electrical and Computer Science, (M) indicates Mechanical Engineering and (R) indicates Robotics).

Teams for the first lab are randomly assigned. The second lab is individual. Students will self-select their lab groups for the remainder of the labs. It is recommended that you select a member of each of the main majors represented in the course (CS, ECE and MechE). You are allowed to change groups, however it is difficult if you are the only group that needs a change in the class. Here is the team contract that will be signed upon the distribution of the LEGO Mindstorms kits:Team Contract.

Related Texts:
There are no required textbooks for this course. But the following can serve as reference:

Robotics, Vision, and Control, Peter Corke, Springer, 2011.

Introduction to Robotics, John J. Craig, Addison-Wesley Publishing, Inc., 1989.

Introduction to Robotics, P. J. McKerrow, ISBN: 0201182408

Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control, Kevin Lynch and Frank Park, Cambridge University Press, 2017. ISBN: 9781107156302. Link.

Some Other Resources: a few other books to reference.

Assignments are posted on this website. Hard copies will not be distributed in class. Assignments are due at the specified dates and times. Late assignments will not be accepted for grading under any condition. Regrade requests can be submitted up to one week after grading and should be emailed to the Head TA.

All group members must be present for demos. A student not present for the demo will receive a zero, unless under extreme circumstances.

Historically, students will have their lowest homework dropped if they submit every single assignment.

Self-paced collaborative lab projects will complement the weekly lectures of Introduction to Robotics. Whereas the lectures emphasize the underlying math and algorithms of each sub-discipline of robotics, the projects will emphasize the pragmatic facets of implementing robotic and mechatronic devices. The labs give students an education that go well beyond robotics into fields like control, embedded systems, programming, signal processing, interfacing, and electronics. Labs will primarily be implemented with BrickPis and LEGO Mindstorm kits.

44% Labs
14% Homework
14% Midterm
24% Final
4% Participation

No student may record or tape any classroom activity without the express written consent of Howie Choset. If a student needs to record or tape classroom activities, the student should contact the Office of Disability Resources to request an appropriate accommodation.

This course is designed to give students an introduction to the principles and passion required in robotics. We realize that this requires a great deal of time and energy. As you know, your health comes first. Please reach out if you feel that you are becoming unhealthy. Here are some great resources: Healthy Campus Site, CaPS, Mindfullness Room, Paws to Relax, your course staff.

Last updated 1/16/2024 by Ananya Rao
(c) 1999-2024: Howie Choset, Carnegie Mellon