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Robotics: Locomotion Engineering

19,601 people completed this program


How do robots climb stairs, traverse shifting sand and navigate through hilly and rocky terrain?

This course, part of the Robotics MicroMasters program, will teach you how to think about complex mobility challenges that arise when robots are deployed in unstructured human and natural environments.

You will learn how to design and program the sequence of energetic interactions that must occur between sensors and mechanical actuators in order to ensure stable mobility. We will expose you to underlying and still actively developing concepts, while providing you with practical examples and projects.

  • The design and analysis of agile, bioinspired, sensorimotor systems
  • How to develop simplified models of complex dynamic systems
  • Ways to utilize simplified models to achieve dynamical mobility tasks


Week 1: Big-Picture Motivation

Week 2: A Linear Time Invariant Mechanical System

Week 3: A Nonlinear Time Invariant Mechanical System

Week 4: Project #1: A Brachiating Robot

Week 5: Qualitative Theory of Dynamical Systems

Week 6: First Locomotion Model

Week 7: A Vertical Hopping Controller

Week 8: Project #2: From Bouncing Ball to Stable Hopper

Week 9: The Spring Loaded Inverted Pendulum (SLIP)

Week 10: Stepping Control of Fore-aft Speed

Week 11: Project #3: Anchoring SLIP in Multi-Jointed Mechanisms

Week 12: Project #4: A Running Controller for the Jerboa Robot

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Robotics: Locomotion Engineering
12 weeks
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