Advanced Robotics

This class is the follow-up class to CSCI3302 “Introduction to Robotics”. Robots perceive their environment with signal processing and computer vision techniques, reason about them using machine learning, artificial intelligence and discrete algorithms, and execute their actions based on constraints imposed by sensor uncertainty, their mechanism, and their dynamics. “Advanced Robotics” will teach the key concepts used by manipulating robots and provide hands-on experience with state-of-the-art software and systems.

Lecture materials are supported by exercises around the “Robot Operating System” ROS and will lead to the completion of a group project. After “The Distributed Robotic Garden” at MIT, and “Robots building Robots” from 2010 to 2012, the 2013 grand challenge is to develop an autonomouse greenhouse. Exercises will be conducted in a virtual environment and can later be transferred to a 7-DOF manipulating arm.

Meetings: The class will meet MWF from 1-1.50pm in ECR 108 and in ECCS 1B21 for exercises.

Due dates: This class has three two week homework assignments. These are due on Fridays before the next exercise begins (see below). The final delivery is a (collaborative) class project

This is a 4830/7000 “Special Topics” class. The Syllabus of this class is still experimental and can change any time.

Prerequisites: CSCI3302 (only for CS4830 students)


Monday Wednesday Friday
1/14: Week 1 No class Class Overview

The X-Hab project

1/21: Week 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Forward kinematics of car-like mechanisms Introduction to ROS
1/28: Week 3 Forward kinematics of robotic arms: Denavit-Hartenberg Scheme Dave Coleman (ROS)
2/4: Week 5 Inverse kinematics of robotic arms Scott Mishra (x-hab) Motion Planning
2/11: Week 6 Sampling-based Motion Planning Emily Howard (x-hab)
2/18: Week 7 Scale-invariant Feature Transformations Heather Hava and Halley Profita
2/25: Week 8 Iterative Closest Point (ICP) and RGB-D Mapping Lance Legel Working with Point Clouds
3/4: Week 9 Visual Servoing Geoff Hollinger (USC) Project meeting
3/11: Week 10 Grasping Design reviews Hassan Ghasemzadeh (UCLA)
3/18: Week 11 Project Meeting Design reviews Project meeting
3/25: Week 12 Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break
4/1: Week 13 Project Design reviews Project meeting
4/8: Week 14 Graph-based SLAM I Design reviews Project meeting
4/15: Week 13 Graph-based SLAM II Design reviews Project meeting
4/22: Week 14 How to write a Research Paper Design reviews Project meeting
4/29: Week 15 Statistical Significance Test Design reviews Project meeting
5/6: Week 16 Project Presentations  Project Presentations  Project Presentations

Homework (samples from the 2012 class)


  • 30% course project
  • 20% final exam / presentation
  • 10-15% homework per assignment/labs
  • 10% class participation

Class Project

The overarching goal of this class is to implement an autonomous greenhouse. A subset of the previous iteration of this class (Spring 2012) has begun implementing a 2D gantry system, which is now available in ECCS 1B21. Other students have developed a 7-DOF arm, which we will be using for manipulation. A critical milestone before autonomy, is the ability to teleoperate the greenhouse. This is the Spring 2013 semester goal for the aerospace graduate design project X-hab, who will collaborate with us on this project.

Final Projects

  • Plant Tamagotchi
    • Brad
    • Bogdan
    • Heather Hava
    • Halley Profita
  • Data Garden Data Weaver
    • Andrew
    • Lance Legel
  • Motion planning for the X-hab arm
    • Frank
    • Omkar
  • Web integration of the X-Hab teleoperation environment
    • Grace
  • Interfacing the Data Garden Gantry
    • Michael


Working environment

We will be using ROS and Ubuntu 12.04. For those without Dual-boot setup, using a virtual machine is an option:

1. Download this VM (bigger version than original)
2. Run this to install class stuff:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cu-cs-csci4830-advrobo-rosrepo
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cu-cs-csci4830-advrobo
/opt/ros/groovy/setup.bash” >> ~/.bashrc && . ~/.bashrc

Project reports in IEEE conference format from the Spring 2012 class as well as “peer-review”-like reviews are available below:

Robots building Robots

  1. Locate cubelets in the environment using RGB-(D) data
    • Charles Chen
    • Charles Dietrich
    • Christopher Miller
  2. Two-arm manipulation planning
  3. Implement “Robots building Robots” using the PR2 in Gazebo
    • Jani Streszepek
    • Andy McEvoy
  4. Inverse Kinematics using ikfast on a 7 DOF Robotic Arm
    • Anshul Kanakia

Autonomous Greenhouse

  1. Characterization of gantry system accuracy
    • Brian Carlsen
    • Ben Leduc-Mills
  2. A Comparative Study of Structured Light and Laser Range Finding Devices
    • Todd Bernhard
    • Anuraag Chintalapally
    • Daniel Zukowski


Team deliverables are:
  • regular participation in design reviews
  • final presentation
  • report in IEEE conference format (double column), 3 pages <= 1 student, 5 pages <= 2 students, 6 pages <=3 students.
Students can also work on their own / ongoing research projects with instructor’s consent.
Autoponics Project:
  • Todd Bernhard
  • Brian Carlsen
  • Ben Leduc-Mills
  • Dan Zukowski


Please refer to the following guidelines on disability, medical conditions, religious observances, behavioral rules, and honor code.