16-311 Introduction to Robotics
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16-311 Course Overview

The following course outline is tentative. Time allotted to some topics may be modified during the semester.

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


Week Day Topics Assignments
Week 1 Mon 1/13
Course Overview, Logistics (mandatory)
Rube Goldberg Overview
Homework 0 (C, MATLAB,
HTML, PDF) assigned

Lab 1 (Rube Goldberg Machine)

Tue 1/14
Computer Vision Part I
Divide into teams for Lab 1 (mandatory)
Homework 1 (Vision) assigned
Wed 1/15
Computer Vision Part II
Week 2
Mon 1/20
Martin Luther King Jr. Day - No Class
Tue 1/21
Demo Lab 1
Location: NSH Atrium

Homework 0 due at 9:00 PM
(note, this homework is due on Tuesday)

Lab 1 demo due
Return to Atrium for final exhibit
Wed 1/22
Recap Lab 1
Neural Networks
Convolutional Neural Networks

Homework 1 due at 9:00 PM
Homework 2 (Vision) assigned
Lab 2 (Vision) assigned
Week 3 Mon 1/27
Controls Part I
Moore's Law
Controls Part II
Tue 1/28
BrickPi for Intro to Robotics Presentation
BrickPi for Intro to Robotics Word Document
BrickPi API Reference
Hand out Root Kits (mandatory), bring Team Contract
Lab 2 due at 4:30 PM
Wed 1/29
Guest Spearker: Prof David Held on Learning for Control
Homework 2 due at 9:00 PM
Homework 3 (Controls) assigned
Lab 3 (Dead Reckoning) assigned
Week 4 Mon 2/3
Reinforcement Learning
Tue 2/4
Demo Lab 3
Location: REL
Lab 3 demo due
Wed 2/5
Guest Speaker: Prof Dimi Apostolopoulos on Systems Engineering
Homework 3 due at 9:00 PM
Homework 4 (Planning) assigned
Lab 4 (Self-balancing Robot) assigned
Week 5 Mon 2/10
Motion Planning Part I
Tue 2/11
Demo Lab 4 Lab 4 demo due
Wed 2/12
Motion Planning Part II
Homework 4 due at 9:00 PM
Homework 5 (Planning) assigned
Lab 5 (Path Planning) assigned
Week 6 Mon 2/17
Graph Search Part I
Tue 2/18
Demo Lab 5 Lab 5 demo due
Wed 2/19
Graph Search Part II
Localization Part I
Homework 5 due at 9:00 PM
Homework 6 (Localization) assigned
Lab 6 (Localization) assigned
Week 7 Mon 2/24
Localization Part II
Tue 2/25
Demo Lab 6 Lab 6 demo due
Wed 2/26
Exam Review
Old Exams
Homework 6 due at 9:00 PM
Lab 7 (USAR Proposal) assigned
Week 8 Mon 3/2
Tue 3/3
Hand back midterm and review
Lab 7: USAR Proposals due at 4:30 PM
Wed 3/4
Evaluate Design Proposals (Groups) Lab 7: SE Checkpoint Assigned

Spring Break

Week 9 Mon 3/16
Tues 3/17

NO CLASS Midterm regrade requests due to head TA
Wed 3/18
Forward Kinematics [Video]
Homework 8 (Forward Kinematics) assigned
Week 10 Mon 3/23
Inverse Kinematics Part 1 [Video]
Tue 3/24
Wed 3/25
Inverse Kinematics Part 2 [Video] Homework 8 Due at 9:00 PM
Arm Lab Part 1 Assigned
Homework 9 (Inverse Kinematics) assigned
Week 11 Mon 3/30
Non-Holonomic Path Planning 1
Tue 3/31
Arm Lab Part 1 demo due 4:30 PM
Wed 4/1
Non-Holonomic Path Planning 2
Homework 9 due at 9:00 PM
Arm Lab Part 2 Assigned
Homework 10 (Non-Holonomic Constraints) assigned
Week 12 Mon 4/6
4-Bar Linkages
Tue 4/7
Arm Lab Part 2 demo due at 4:30 PM
Wed 4/8
Bipedal Locomotion Homework 10 due at 9:00 PM
Bipedal Locomotion Lab assigned
Linkages Homework assigned
Week 13 Mon 4/13
Guest Speaker: Dimi Apostolopoulos on System Design Part 2
Tue 4/14
Bipedal Locomotion Lab Due at 4:30 PM
Wed 4/15
Guest Speaker: Aaron Steinfeld on HRI Homework 11 due at 9:00 PM
Teleop Lab assigned
User Interface Homework assigned
Week 14 Mon 4/20
Motor, Battery, Sensor, and Manufacturing Selection
Tue 4/21
Teleop lab due
Wed 4/22
Microcontrollers, Communication Protocol, and Pub/Sub Structure
Homework 12 due at 9:00 PM
Final Report assigned
Part Selection Homework assigned
Week 15 Mon 4/23
Final Review
Tue 4/28
Final Report Due at 4:30 PM
Wed 4/29
Homework 13 due at 9:00 PM
Week 16-17 Final Exam Date: TBD
Final Exam Time: TBD
Final Exam Location: TBD
Bring an 8 1/2 by 11 cheat sheet (both sides).
Old Exams

Last updated 1/14/2020 by Hannah Lyness
(c) 1999-2020: Howie Choset, Carnegie Mellon