ECE 470 Fall 2020


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  • Notes from OH.
  • Forward dynamics is not part of the final (it was included in the first version of the info for the final)
  • The Final will take place Dec 11 at 1:30PM. Info and sample questions here. Annotated and answer hints here. Please sign-up to the class channel Thursday Dec 10 at 12:30 PM if you have more questions.
  • The second in-class quizz will take place Dec 3rd, during class time (12:30 ->1:50). The material covered includes everything except inverse kinematics, kinematics of closed chains, and control. You can except an emphasis on Jacobians. More info. Solution to Q2 (on Jacobians, the question to focus on)
  • The Midterm will take place Oct 22, during class time (12:30 ->1:50). The material covered includes everything until Slide set 8 (included). More Info and sample questions — Notebook of Oct 20th
  • HW1 is on Gradescope. If you have not received an email from Gradescope, please let us know!
  • If you want to register for the class, but cannot sign-up for your lab section of choice, contact us!
  • The first lecture will be on Aug.25 at 12.30 PM at Zoom link 
  • The lab will start the week of August 31st. No lab the first week.
  • Some of you have had issues signing up for their desired lab sessions: we are working on it and more seats will be opened up soon! Will update this as needed.

Teaching Staff

Meeting times

The class meets Tuesday and Thursday 12:30PM to 1:50PM online only.

The class counts for 4 credits, and includes a lab.

Instructor’s Office Hours: Tuesday 2-3pm online or by appointment.

TA’s Office Hours:

Location: online

Times: announced on Piazza

We are on Piazza


The homeworks will be a mix of PrairieLearn exercises and written homeworks on Gradescope to be scanned/photographed and sent to us.

  • HW1 has been posted on Gradescope. Due Date is Sep 4 (to help you have good habits) with automatically granted extension to Sep 8. [Solutions]
  • HW2 has ben posted on Prairielearn. It is due Friday Sept. 18 at 23H59.
  • HW3 has ben posted on Gradescope. It is due Friday Sept. 25 at 23H59. [Solutions]
  • HW4 has been posted on Gradescope. It is due Monday Oct 12 at 17h00. [Solutions]
  • HW5 has been posted on Gradescope. It is due Friday Oct 16 at 23H59.
  • HW6 has been posted on Prairielearn. It is due Friday Nov 6 at 23H59.
  • HW7 has been posted on Gradescope.  It is due Friday Nov 13 at 23H59.
  • HW8 has been posted on Gradescope.  It is due Friday Nov 20 at 23H59.
  • HW9 has been posted on Gradescope. It is not a mandatory HW. You can submit it for a few extra credit, but won’t be penalized if you do not submit it.   It is due Mon Dec 7 at noon. Solutions will be posted at that time.

The Final grade will be evaluated according to (subject to change):

Homeworks:        15%
Labs:             30%
Exam 1:           15% 
Exam 2:           15% 7.5%
Final:            25% 32.5%


  • Textbook: Modern Robotics: mechanics, planning and control, by K. Lynch and F. Park (Cambridge University Press) — download it here
  • Recommended reference:  Robot Modelling and Control, by M. Spong, S. Hutchinson and M Vidyasagar (Wiley and Sons, 2005)
  • Note on computing Jacobians


A good understanding of linear algebra and calculus. The official prerequisites are:  Credit in MATH 225 or MATH 286 or MATH 415 or MATH 418.

Tentative Lecture Schedule

The lecture schedule below is subject to change. In particular, we may cover topics other than robot control and robot dynamics.

Note: If you cannot access the slides, please follow this link. Use the helpdesk, whose contact info is at the bottom, if necessary.

Date Topic Assignments  
Aug 25 General introduction and overview of the course.
Configuration space: Degrees of Freedom. Slides Lecture
Read Chap. 1. Chap. 2.1-2.2
Aug 27 Configuration Space topology, holonomic and non-holonomic constraints. Slides  [updated 2020] Lecture Read Chap. 2.3-2.5
Sep 1 Rigid-Body Motions: rotation matrices and homogeneous transformations in 2D and 3D. Slides [updated 2020] Lecture Read 3.1-3.3
Sep 3 Exponential Coordinates and logarithm for rotation in 3D and Homogenous transformations in 3D Slides [Updated 1/29] Lecture Read 3.3-3.4
Sep 8 Homogenous transformations, angular velocities and twists. Slides [Updated 2019]

Sir Ball Treatise on Screw Theory (for the curious only; shows you how this material was discussed circa 1876) Lecture

Read 3.3-3.4
Sep 10 We covered twists: representation of the velocities of frames. Slides are the one of Lect of Sept 8)   Lecture Read 3.3-3.4
Sep 15 Screw motions and their twists Slides [2019]. We started the slides of Lec 6. [Lecture]
Sep 17 Mostly covered slides of Lecture 6   [Lecture]
Sep 22 Forward Kinematics: Product of Exponentials formula Slides Forward kinematics: [Lecture] Read 4.0-4.1 Read Appendix C
Sep 24 Changing frames in PoE and  Denavit-Hartemberg formalism (DH was not covered in this lecture)  Slides [Lecture]
Sep 29 Denavit-Hartemberg formalism  Slides [Lecture]
Oct 1 Denavit-Hartemberg formalism + Velocity kinematics: Jacobians Slides  Lecture
Oct 6 Velocity Kinematics: Jacobians and singular configurations Slides  [Lecture] Read 5.1 Read 5.2-5.7
Oct 8 Velocity Kinematics: Jacobians and singular configurations Slides [Lecture]
Oct 13 Inverse kinematics: Analytic Approach Slides Read 6.1-6.2
Oct 15 Inverse kinematics: numerical approach; inverse velocity kinematics Slides (updated Oct 10) Read 6.3-6.6
Oct20 Review
Oct 22 Exam 1 [In class]
Oct 27 Exam review and inverse kinematics (numerical approach)
Oct 29 Kinematics of closed chains Slides  Read 7.1-7.2
Nov 3 No lecture — State holiday Read 9.1-9.3
Nov 5 Trajectory generation Slides Read 11.1-11.4
Nov 10 Lagrangian dynamics  Slides Read 8.1-8.2
Nov 12 Robot Control Slides Read 11.3
XXX Robot Control: Velocity inputs Slides

Robot Control: Torque/force inputs Slides

Read 11.4
XXX No Lecture: extended office hours.
Dec 1 Robot Control
Dec 3 Quizz [In class]
Additional topics Dynamics: Newton-Euler Inverse dynamics and forward dynamics of open chains Slides

Dynamics: closed form and an example Slides