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Introducing Kinematics with Robot Operating System (ROS)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1024.1 - 26.1024.18



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Paper Authors

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Asad Yousuf Savannah State University


Claire Cynthia Lehman Bill's Robotic Solution

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William Lehman is President of Bill’s Robotic Solutions which he started in July of 2013. He has had over twenty years of experience in software and hardware development. He has worked on numerous projects in digital communication systems, robotics, and aerospace applications. Mr. Lehman received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1979 from Catholic University of America.

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Mohamad A. Mustafa Savannah State University


Mir M Hayder Savannah State University

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Dr. Hayder is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at savannah State University, GA. He received PhD in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University, Canada in 2009. His research interest lies in the areas of fluid-structure interaction, flow-induced vibrations, syngas and blended fuel combustion, nanofluids, concentrating solar power technologies, and flow and structural simulations.

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Introducing Kinematics with Robot Operating System (ROS)The study of Kinematics is essential to Robotics. A robot, to perform most applications needs to processpositional data and transform data from one frame of reference to another. Robots have sensors, links andactuators each with its own frame of reference, so transformations between reference frames can be quitetedious. Traditionally Kinematics for robots is introduced to students with MatLab and the Robotic Toolbox. Inthis paper we examine the introduction of Kinematics for robotics with the features and tools available in the opensource Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS implements tools for Kinematics transforms (tf) as a key part of theROS Core Libraries. ROS defines robots with the Unified Robot Description Format (URDF) standardbased upon Extensible Markup Language (XML). URDF is in many respects similar to Denavit-Hartenberg (D-H) Convention, but with significant additional enhancements.We choose to introduce the Electronic Engineering Technology (EET) students to Kinematics and ROS so theywould have greater insight into engineering projects involving robotics. We also found that using ROS in roboticsprojects not only makes the projects more interesting to students but, gives students an authentic experience withdistributive systems and odometry sensors. Kinematics for robots uses Linear Algebra, Matrices, Naturallogarithms (Euler’s equation), Imaginary numbers and Trigonometry. The areas of mathematics we used tointroduce kinematics for robotics to EET students are very similar to the mathematics to understand electricity,electric fields and circuit theory. We emphasize matrix operations, operations involving Triaminic functions andimaginary numbers. This paper summarizes the result of this approach.

Yousuf, A., & Lehman, C. C., & Mustafa, M. A., & Hayder, M. M. (2015, June), Introducing Kinematics with Robot Operating System (ROS) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24361

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