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ME 379 (18365) and ME 397 (18600)

Robot Mechanism Design

Fall 2015


Office: ETC 5.134A, Phone: 512-475-7773, Email:

Prof. Ashish Deshpande



Taylor Niehues

Class Hours: TTh 2:00-3:30 PM, ETC 7.146 Lab Hours: open, ETC 3.104A Office Hours: Wed 9-11am and by appointment

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level Statics, Dynamics, & Matlab programming Textbook: Design of Machinery, Fifth Edition Author: Robert L. Norton (McGraw Hill)


MATLAB Student Version

Course Homepage

Course description

This course teaches analysis and synthesis of motions of mechanisms in order to design robotic systems. Motion properties of mechanisms including degrees of freedom, velocity, and acceleration will be studied. Throughout the course design ideas and motion analysis for robotic systems will be discussed for a wide range of applications including spatial, industrial and medical robotics. The students will simulate and analyze motions of multi-link mechanisms in the MATLAB programming environment.

Students will design and build robots with interesting mechanisms and mechatronics elements as part of group projects. Students will learn machining, assembly, mechatronics and programming through the projects.

Educational Objectives

1. To train students to identify, model, analyze and simulate kinematics of machinery using a unified approach

2. To teach students to design planar robotics mechanisms

3. To introduce students to the computer simulation, design and dynamic analysis of mechanisms using MATLAB

4. To provide hands-on experience in building of robotic systems


Class Participation

All students are expected to attend the lecture

sessions and












Mid-terms (I & II)





Homework problems will be assigned regularly throughout the semester.

You are expected to do the homework assignment individually.

Must be submitted on 8.5 × 11 sheets.


There will be numerous multiple-choice, in- class quizzes.

The goal is to test in-class participation and understanding of the material.

Mid-Term Exams

There will be two mid-term examinations.

These will be held at the scheduled class times.

Mid-term 1 on OCT 1 st , 2015

Mid-term 2 on NOV 5 th or 12 th , 2015

You can bring a single 8.5 × 11 formula sheet to the prelims.


Teams of 3 students will carry out hands-on robot projects, with an emphasis on mechanisms design. Students will design, build and control a novel mechanism, give a demonstration and submit a report.

Special needs: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualifier students with disabilities. To determine if you qualify, please contact Dean of Students at 471-6259 or 471- 4641 TTY. If they certify your needs, we will work with you to make appropriate arrangements. Plagiarism: As a research university, the University of Texas at Austin takes plagiarism very seriously. Do not risk getting involved in a plagiarism infraction – the consequences simply aren’t worth it. Always cite your sources, and when in doubt consult a professor or librarian. You may also read more about plagiarism at the Student Judicial Services website:

Religious holy day observance: If an assignment or exams falls due on a day when you are observing a religious holy day, we will work with you to find an acceptable alternative time to complete this assignment.



Weeks 1-10 of the semester

Kinematical Analysis of Mechanisms

Position Analysis

Velocity Analysis

Acceleration Analysis

These concepts will be introduced Topics will taught with

Class Project

Formation of the teams and topic decision

Brainstorming on design of robot mechanisms

Configuration and parametric design based on kinematical analysis

Material purchase

Training for building, assembly, control of the robots


Machine shop training and practice


Microcontrollers and mechatronics


Actuators and sensors

Weeks 11-14 of the semester

Advanced Topics – the focus of the advanced topics will be decided based on student interest and project topics

Robot mechanism synthesis

Robot dynamics

Robot controls and planning

Class Project

Machining of the parts and building and assembling mechanisms

Microcontroller programming and control system design

Kinematical analysis

Testing of the robot mechanisms

Re-design and re-build based on the test results

Report writing

Important Dates

September 8, 2015 – Discussion of project topics and teams September 10, 2015 – Presentation by Ricardo Palacio – Machine shop manager September 12, 2015 (Saturday 9AM-1PM) – Machine Shop Training September 24, 2015 – Mechatronics Training October 1, 2015 – Mid-term 1 October 15, 2015 – First prototype built October 29, 2015 – Halloween!!! November 5 or 12, 2015 – Mid-term 2 November 19, 2015 – Second prototype built December 1, 2015 – In-class presentations (5 slides) December 3, 2015 – Final Demo - Open house in T-room