Robotics is a fast-moving discipline and highly interdisciplinary in nature.
Although relatively young compared to other more established disciplines like
classical mechanics and even control engineering, there is a general consensus
emerging on what constitutes the core scientific foundations of robotics.
Robot mechanics, planning, and control perhaps makes the strongest case for
inclusion; there is now a distinct and unifying perspective to the mechanics,
planning, and control of robots that would be lost if studied merely as part
of a course in kinematics, dynamics, control, or other traditional subjects.
In this seminar we describe what we believe should form the core contents of
such an introductory course on the fundamentals of robotics. A unique feature
of our approach is the emphasis on geometric techniques, based on a modern
formulation of classical screw theory. While the theory is not new, the
general consensus has been that these geometric tools are usually inaccessible
to the undergraduate student. In this seminar we argue that this need not be
the case: with just a working understanding of basic linear algebra and linear
differential equations, it is possible for students to formulate the kinematics
and dynamics of general open chains, and to perform both quantitative and
qualitative analyses of these chains. We illustrate these pedagogical tools and
describe the learning experiences of students who have taken regular and online
versions of an introductory course based on this material.
Frank Chongwoo Park received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1985,
and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 1991. From 1991 to
1995 he was assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the
University of California, Irvine. Since 1995 he has been professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering at Seoul National University. His research interests
are in robot mechanics, planning and control, vision and image processing, and
related areas of applied mathematics. In 2007-2008 he was an IEEE Robotics and
Automation Society (RAS) Distinguished Lecturer, and has served as secretary of
RAS from 2009-2010 and 2012-2013. He has served on the editorial boards of the
Springer Handbook of Robotics and Advanced Tracts in Robotics (STAR), Robotica,
and the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. He is a fellow of the IEEE,
and editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics.