Course title
Robotics Overview - Current and Future

KOMATSU Takanori
Course description
Due to highly developed technologies, robots are now becoming popular and widely used in our daily situations. Therefore, in order to study about robots, it requires in acquiring not only engineering knowledge about robots but also social “raison d'etre” of robots. In this lecture, students are required to acquire basic engineering knowledge about robots and to understand social raison d'etre of robots from viewpoints of the several findings of social science studies.
Purpose of class
Firstly, students are required to acquire basic engineering knowledge about robots. Secondly, they are required to understand the current situation and future direction of robot-related technologies in parallel with comprehending the recent research trends in robotic related researches. Finally, they are to learn adequate ability to consider raison d’etre of robots from various viewpoints of significant findings on psychology and sociology.
Goals and objectives
  1. Acquiring basic engineering knowledge about robots.
  2. Understanding fundamental findings of social science studies that are indispensable to comprehend the relationship among robots, humans and society.
  3. Grasping research trends in academic achievements about robots.
Class schedule

Class schedule HW assignments (Including preparation and review of the class.) Amount of Time Required
1. Introduction to robotics: Introducing definitions, history of the robot and various academic disciplines relating robot, such as mechanical engineering, electric engineering, control engineering, computer science, psychology and cognitive science. Survey of various robots 15minutes
2. Basic elements of robots (1) sensors: Introducing various kinds of sensors applied to the robot, e.g., potentiometer, rotary encoder, strain gauge, thermistor, CCD, microphones, ultrasonic sensors and so on. Survey of various sensors 15minutes
3. Basic elements of robots (2) actuators: Introducing various kinds of actuators applied to the robot, e.g., DC motors (stepper, coreless, or direct drive), AC motors, servo motors, and so on. Survey of various actuators 15minutes
4. Basic elements of robots (3) mechanics: Introducing basic mechanisms of the robots including gears, cums, and links. And introducing basic structures of manipulators including the concept the degree of freedom , singular points and so on. Survey of link structures 15minutes
5. Controlling robots: Introducing basic concepts of the control methods of robots, e.g., open/closed loop control, forward/inverse kinematics. And also introducing concrete control methods including PID control, several modern control theories and neural networks. Survey of control methodology of robots 15minutes
6. Intelligence: Introducing an overview and a history of artificial intelligence (AI) system. Specifically, focusing on that current AI systems are based on physical symbol system hypothesis that exclude the uncertainty of the physical world where the robots should work. Survey of current AI technology 15minutes
7. Robots as computers with physical body: Introducing natures of human intelligence based on the findings of psychology and cognitive sciences. And focusing on the differences between current AI system and human intelligence in terms of their physical properties. Survey of human intelligence 15minutes
8. Role of embodiment: Introducing a philosophical concept of “embodiment.” This concept is quite important for considering the human like intelligence in our physical world because human intelligence cannot be described by means of physical symbol system hypothesis. Survey of the meaning of “embodiment” 15minutes
9. Robots without physical body: Introducing recent academic trials to realize robots or characters in virtual world. Discussing the substantial differences between these virtual robots and “physical” robots will clarify what the robots are or what humans expect for robots. Survey of virtual agents 15minutes
10. Hypothesis testing with using robot: Introducing an alternative usage of the robot as “hypothesis testing.” The concept of “robot as computer with physical body” will help to understand this alternative usage. Specifically, introducing some constructivist approaches in research area of cognitive development. Survey of cognitive science 15minutes
11. Appearance and design of robots: Introducing current findings of the importance of the appearance of the robot and the concrete design methodologies. And introducing an importance of the relationship between the robots’ appearance designs and their actual functions. Survey of design methodology of robots 15minutes
12. Robot psychology: Introducing recent research trends called “robot psychology” which is focusing on the interaction between robots and humans especially from the viewpoints of human users. And introducing several recent studies presented on ACM/IEEE human-robot interaction conference. Survey of the academic conference on “human-robot interaction” 15minutes
13. Useless robots: Introducing a concept of “useless robots.” Although the useless robots cannot achieve their goals by themselves, these robots can achieve these together with humans. Rethinking about human’s reactions toward these useless robots will lead an alternative understanding about what robots are. Survey of the concept of “benefit of inconvenience” 15minutes
14. Moral and robots: Moral norms determine human’s basic attitudes toward the robots in quite fundamental way. Introducing recent moral dilemma tasks to investigate how humans regards these robots are. At a glance, the concept of “moral norms” are quite far from robotics, however this concept can clearly reveal what robots are. Survey of morals and ethics 15minutes
Total. - - 210minutes
Relationship between 'Goals and Objectives' and 'Course Outcomes'

Assignments Final report Total.
1. 30% 70% 100%
2. 0%
Total. 30% 70% -
Evaluation method and criteria
Scores of assignments and final report.
Textbooks and reference materials
Reference materials:introducing in each class
Office hours and How to contact professors for questions
  • Contact via e-mail
Non-regionally-oriented course
Development of social and professional independence
  • Course that cultivates a basic self-management skills
Active-learning course
More than one class is interactive
Course by professor with work experience
Work experience Work experience and relevance to the course content if applicable
N/A This course is not by a professor with work experience.
Education related SDGs:the Sustainable Development Goals
Last modified : Sat Mar 19 00:21:23 JST 2022