Intermediate Course

Basic Arm Kinematics

Learn the basic kinematic concepts of robotic arms.

Course Overview


The aim of this course is to provide you with the concepts and tools that will enable you to understand how the motion of a manipulator works. This is the cornerstone of robot manipulation, as it can be later expanded upon with the addition of external sensors in other courses.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn some basic concepts needed in order to know how to deal with a manipulator robot.
  • Learn how to compute the Forward Kinematics of a manipulator robot.
  • Learn how to compute the Inverse Kinematics of a manipulator robot.

Simulation robots used in this course:

Clarkson Manipulator, UR3






30 h

What projects will you be doing?

[ROS Q&A] 168 - What are the differences between global and local costmap

Robot Configuration

Analyze the kinematic configuration of your manipulator robot for further analysis.

ROS Mini Challenge #2 - RViz

Forward Kinematics

Compute the Forward Kinematics of your robot both theoretically and using ROS tools.

Inverse Kinematics

Compute the Inverse Kinematics of your robot both theoretically and using ROS tools.

Final Project

Solve the Forward and Inverse Kinematics of the UR3 robot manipulator.

What you will learn

Course Syllabus

Unit 1: Introduction

A brief introduction to the course, including a practical demo.

Unit 2: Robot Configuration
  • Robot configuration
  • Representing positions
  • Representing rotations
  • Rotational transformations
  • Composition of rotations
  • Parameterization of rotations
  • Homogeneous transformation matrices
  • Links & Joints
  • Manipulator classification
  • Degrees of freedom DOF
  • Joint limits and configuration space
  • Reachable workspace
  • What about ROS? URDF files
Unit 3: Forward Kinematics
  • Create a Kinematic diagram of your robot
  • DH parameters
  • Calculate the Forward Kinematics
  • What about ROS?
  • Transforms
  • Moveit!
Unit 4: Inverse Kinematics
  • Calculate the Inverse Kinematics
  • What about ROS?
  • Create your own IK solver
  • Moveit!
  • Using MoveIt’s IK solvers
Final Project

Solve the kinematics of a UR3 robot.


Alberto Ezquerro


Passionate about robotic automation and making robots intelligent. Has worked on Autonomous Navigation Systems for indoor & outdoor wheeled robots. His interests include reproducible research, vision for robots, and security for robots.

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