The main focus of “roboticists” in the US is from a computer science angle (with a few notable exceptions). So much so, that the basic mechanical aspects are often completely ignored. I have met people that do nothing but robotics research for a living that think that inverse kinematics is the most advanced and complicated thing in the world (and as such, they can’t do it themselves). To me this is a real shame, and (partially) explains why we are so far behind Japan, Germany, Korea, and even China when it comes to mechanical robot design. The other part is that the very few roboticists in the US that are capable of creating amazing robots tend to just make things for the military industrial complex (still lamentable, but a separate issue that will require its own rant at some point in the future).

To help remedy this situation, I hope to cover the following topics in a clear non-frightening way so that anyone willing to put in the effort can create a really amazing robot. This will take me a long time, as it is behind a long list of other projects, but one day…for now I hope this list can give some of you some keyword food for the search engines.

  • Basic Linear Algebra Review and Transformation Matrices
  • Actuator Control
  • Sensor Feedback
  • Basic Serial Arm-type Introduction
    • Forward Kinematics
    • Inverse Kinematics
    • Basic Path Planning
  • More Advanced Serial Introduction
    • Forward Dynamics
    • Inverse Dynamics
    • Advanced Path Planning
  • Parallel Humanoid-type Introduction
  • Highly Parallel Morphing Robots