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Mechanical Design and Kinematics - ELE00096H

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jihong Zhu
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The module introduces students to the fundamentals of Unified Robotics Description Format (URDF) for creating robot design in simulators and the kinematics and dynamics of mechanical systems and manipulators with a particular focus on robotic manipulators and interaction with objects. It enables students to design and construct robotics systems that function under programmed mechatronic control.

Professional requirements

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information



Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

Subject content aims:

  • To provide instruction and experience in using robot simulation software (Pybullet, Coppeliasim, Gazebo) for the creation of robotic systems

  • To explain the formalisation of rigid body motion to forward and inverse kinematics using position and velocity.

  • To describe the main types of mechanical joints, jointed robots, and manipulators used in industrial systems and other applications.

  • To explain the use of kinematic control for jointed mechatronic systems

Graduate skills aims:

  • To explain the mechanical design and control of multiple degree of freedom systems

  • To provide an opportunity for gaining experience in designing and controlling robotic manipulators in simulation

Module learning outcomes

Subject content learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Be able to describe how to design robotic systems using URDF and robot simulation software

  • Be proficient at describing rigid body motion in three-dimensional space

  • Able to model joints of different types and end effector position for typical robot arm configurations

  • Be capable of calculating forward and inverse manipulator kinematics with position, velocity and acceleration

  • Implement point-to-point and trajectory arm control by considering joint and end effector forces

Graduate skills learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Design, construct, and control robotic arms and other mechatronic manipulators

  • Build mathematical models of jointed multiple degree of freedom systems

  • Create control algorithms for performing simple tasks with jointed robot arms

Module content


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 70
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 30

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The coursework builds on content from the practicals, so by completing the labs, students will gain the skills and experience necessary to do the coursework The students are asked to form a team (max 3) to do the coursework and summarise the result in the form of a report (max 12 pages). They are also asked to deliver a clear and concise presentation to demonstrate it to the audiences.


Task Length % of module mark
Coursework Reassessment
N/A 100

Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Formative Feedback:

Lab work with spoken feedback and problem-solving, and immediate help given by lab demonstrators during lab sessions.

Summative Feedback:

Feedback forms with a detailed breakdown of grades provided at the assessment of coursework which occurs at the end of term, returned to the students with grades.

Indicative reading

Modern Robotics (Mechanics,Planning and Control), 2017, K.M. Lynch and F. C. Park.

Introduction to Robotics, P.J. McKerrow Addison Wesley 1991.

Fundamentals for control of robotic manipulators, Koivo, John Wiley, 1989.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.