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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: 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 cycle
A Semester 2 2023-24

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

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 within three weeks 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.