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Queensland University of Technology

Introduction to Robotics: How to Build a Robot Arm

Queensland University of Technology via FutureLearn

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Join the fascinating world of robotics and learn how to build a robot

The best way to learn is to put your knowledge into practice. On this five-week practical course, you’ll have the opportunity to build your very own robot.

From sourcing the equipment to programming your robot to move, you’ll be guided through each stage of the process.

Robotics is all about integrating hardware and software. You’ll learn how you can build a simple physical robot, and create the software to allow it to perform the useful task of carrying a pen and drawing a coordinated line on a sheet of paper.

Bring your skills of mechanical design and software development together

The project will help you put your knowledge of robotics and mathematics to use, and also bring together a number of skills including programming, mechanical design, and software development.

You’ll learn how to ensure the software implements kinematic algorithms as well as communicating with sensors and motors to get your robot moving.

You’ll also discover how to generate a trajectory of points for the robot to move on the worksheet, and how to test and adjust the software to improve your robot’s performance.

Build your programming skills with QUT

At the end of the course, you’ll be invited to submit a video of your completed robot for peer review. Enjoy sharing your robot design and the way your robot works with other learners all around the world.

Though you may find aspects of this course challenging, it’s a rewarding way to put your knowledge into practice and enter the world of robotics.

This course is designed for those who have completed the other courses in the Introducing Robotics ExpertTrack.

If you can’t buy the equipment, you will still find the course useful as you learn the build principles.

In this course, we demonstrate the build principles using the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit. While this kit is no longer produced, you can complete the project using a variety of technologies.

How you build your robot depends on what resources you have access to. You might choose to purchase a robotics development kit or borrow hobby robot components. You’ll need a 64-bit computer to install the MATLAB software and a software toolbox to control your robot. With support from MathWorks, free access to MATLAB will be provided for the duration of the course plus 30 days.

The software you need to program your robot depends on the hardware you choose to use. For example, you might choose a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit, together with the MATLAB LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Support Package. If you are more experienced, you might choose to use an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, together with their relevant MATLAB Support Packages. We encourage you to discuss your build options with your peers and the teaching team before sourcing them.

Taught by

Prof Peter Corke


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

Start your review of Introduction to Robotics: How to Build a Robot Arm

  • Many thanks to professor Peter Corke and his team from QUT. I took a course of "Introduction to robotics" after a long time since I've finished school. It seemed attractive so I went for it and what a wonderful suprise. I strongly recommend professor Peter Corke's courses.

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