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Robotics Project: 6.088/6.084

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This course introduces students to advanced concepts, principles, and algorithms in robotics and embedded systems. This is a project course framed as addressing a grand challenge: to create a robotic gardening system. Solving the grand challenge requires designing and programming robots or embedded systems that interact effectively and autonomously with the real world. Students will learn about the state of the art in robotics and integrate and put to use theoretical
knowledge from this course or earlier in the curricula. Topics covered are: control, motion planning; state estimation; kinematics and inverse kinematics, computer vision, visual servoing, mesh networking, and networked control of multi-robot systems. Students will develop a distributed gardening robot system. The plants in the garden will be potted cherry tomatoes. Each pot will contain a soil sensor that will be networked with the robots in the system via mesh networking. The robots will be based on iRobot iCreate platforms extended with a robot arm from CrustCrawler, custom watering system, eye-in-hand camera, and mesh networking. The robot is controlled using a notebook PC.

The course will be structured with a lectures and laboratories. The lectures will be used to present concepts and algorithms for the course topics. Students will also do design review presentations during lectures. The laboratories will be used to develop and implement the course challenge project. Students will work in teams to design an integrated solution to the gardening robot system. Students will be introduced to the course platforms and system infrastructure in the first lab. During subsequent labs, students will work in small teams to develop implement and evaluate a robust solution to one component of the project. The final module of the course will integrate all the components and evaluate performance.


Prof. Daniela Rus (Course Coordinator) , Rm 32-374, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , x8-7567
Dr. Nikolaus Correll, Rm 32-375, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , x3-6292

Teaching Assistants: Alex Patrikalakis, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (617) 795-2277

Course Administrator: Marcia Davidson, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 32-374A, x3-6583

Class Meetings

Lectures: Fridays 10-11:30am, Rm 32-124.
Labs: Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-4pm, T-party area, 32-3xx.

Schedule of Lectures and Lab Exercises

Course Designations

• Units: 12, 2-4-6 (Lectures: 2; Labs: 4; Out-of-class: 6)
• EECS Department Engineering Concentration: 6.088 is a 12-unit subject that counts as an Engineering Concentration under the Artificial Intelligence heading.
• EECS Department Undergraduate Advanced Project: 6.084 is a 6-unit subject that pairs with 6.UAP. Completing this will give you credit for an undergraduate advanced project plus 6 additional units. If you register for 6.084 you must also register for 6.UAP.


• There will be two introductory labs.
• There will be an intensive challenge project to create a gadening robot system. The project will be done in teams; each team will tackle a different aspect of the challenge. The deliverables for the challenge project consist of a team challenge proposal, design reviews, a team implementation, a team presentation and demonstration, and an individual final report. Each challenge proposal, presented as a team, frames the team’s attack on the posed design problem. The design reviews will be in-class presentations. The purpose of the design reviews is (1) to ensure progress to the project goal following the spiral philosophy and (2) to enable coordination for later integration of team solutions. The implementation is the delivered hardware and software produced by the students over the challenge period. The presentation and demonstration consist of the students describing their approach to the challenge, demonstrating the operation of their implemented design, and discussing its performance. The final report is written individually, and consists of each student’s reflections on the challenge project and his or her contribution to the team’s effort.
• There will be an integration project that will combine the team solutions into a working gardening robot system. The deliverables will be design reviews, a group implementation and demonstration, extensive performance evaluation, and a class paper. If results are substantive, the class paper will be submitted for publication at an international robotics conference.


There will be no midterm or final exam. The class final project is due the last week of classes, and a final report in the form of a paper due on the last day of classes.

Grading Criteria

Subject grades are formed from a weighted average as follows:

• Lab reports: 10% (5% Technical, 5% Presentation)
• Team Project design and proposal: 20% (15% Technical, 5% Presentation)
• Team Project implementation and performance: 50% (40% Technical, 10% Evaluation)
• Team Project presentation: 10% (5% Technical, 5% Presentation)
• Final Integration: 10% (5% Technical, 5% Presentation)
• Class participation: 10%

Additional policies

Collaboration is encouraged for all assignments. Within teams, teamwork is an absolute necessity, and we expect that teams will work together to generate the technical content of each lab report. Across teams, we encourage collaboration and discussion. You must explicitly credit any appropriation of code, data, or writing across teams or from other Web sources. For the final project, full collaboration across class on all aspects of the challenge is necessary. Every student will be expected to contribute a roughly equal share to the design, implementation, evaluation, writing, and presentation of the project. Should you require any clarification of the policies above, contact a member of the course staff.