This Specialization provides a rigorous treatment of spatial motion and the dynamics of rigid bodies, employing representations from modern screw theory and the product of exponentials formula. Students with a freshman-level engineering background will quickly learn to apply these tools to analysis, planning, and control of robot motion. Students' understanding of the mathematics of robotics will be solidified by writing robotics software. Students will test their software on a free state-of-the-art cross-platform robot simulator, allowing each student to have an authentic robot programming experience with industrial robot manipulators and mobile robots without purchasing expensive robot hardware. It is highly recommended that Courses 1-6 of the Specialization are taken in order, since the material builds on itself.
In the projects, students build on provided free software, written in multiple languages, allowing each student to choose their favorite language. Projects include writing a simulator for a robot arm, writing a robot motion planner, and writing software for trajectory planning and feedback control of a mobile manipulator consisting of a wheeled mobile robot and a robot arm. All software is tested on the robot simulator.
Northwestern University is a private research and teaching university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, and Doha, Qatar. Northwestern combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries.
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Can I just enroll in a single course?
Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You'll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. You'll need to complete this step for each course in the Specialization, including the Capstone Project. Learn more.
Can I take the course for free?
When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free. If you cannot afford the fee, you can apply for financial aid.
Is this course really 100% online? Do I need to attend any classes in person?
This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.
How long does it take to complete the Specialization?
Each of the six courses is scheduled for 4 weeks, with a typical week requiring approximately 5 hours of work (reading, videos, quizzes, and projects). If you work steadily, you should be able to complete the Specialization in 24 weeks, with a total of approximately 120 hours of work.
What background knowledge is necessary?
This specialization is designed to be accessible to students who have taken typical college first-year (freshman) engineering courses. The student should have an understanding of:
Freshman-level physics, including f = ma; masses, springs, and dampers; vector forces; and vector torques (or moments) as the cross product of a distance vector and a force;
Linear algebra, including matrix operations, positive definiteness of a matrix, determinants, complex numbers, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors;
Some calculus, derivatives, and partial derivatives;
Basic linear ordinary differential equations; and
A little bit of programming experience.
Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?
It is highly recommended you follow the courses in the specified order, since the material builds on itself throughout the Specialization.
Will I earn university credit for completing the Specialization?
Upon completing the Specialization, you will have studied material that might normally be covered in two semesters at the university level. You will be able to represent motions and forces (wrenches) in three-dimensional space; mathematically model the forward, inverse, and velocity kinematics of open- and closed-chain robots; plan collision-free robot motions among obstacles; analyze robot manipulation tasks with rigid bodies in frictional contact; and derive motion planners and feedback controllers for wheeled mobile robots. You will be able to write software supporting all of these activities, and you will verify your software on a state-of-the-art robot simulator. The high-level software you develop will be useful for almost any physical robot, once it is supplemented with drivers that connect the high-level software to the specific robot hardware.
Finally, upon completing this Specialization you will be equipped to take graduate-level courses in robot motion planning, manipulation, and control, or to interview confidently for a job in robot control.