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MEC4406 Robotics and Machine Vision

Semester 2, 2011 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
School or Department : Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Version produced : 8 March 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: John Billingsley
Moderator: Tobias Low

Other requisites

Recommended prior or concurrent study: ELE2103


Robotics and machine vision are specialised aspects of mechatronics, the fusion of digital control with electronics and mechanisms to realise an application of value to manufacturing and other industries. Mechatronic control system design requires the ability to embrace nonlinearities in both the system and the controller. Kinematic methods are taught for the design and analysis of robot manipulators and similar mechanisms. Aspects of control theory cover modelling and synthesis of nonlinear controllers such as the saturating drives demanded for real life actuator systems. The vision syllabus ranges over the variety of image acquisition systems now available, leading on to methods of image analysis. Image filtering and edge detection are compared with more pragmatic methods and examples are taken from research outcomes such as a vision guidance system for agricultural tractors.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. appreciate and analyse kinematics and positional control of articulated manipulators;
  2. design techniques for controlling mechanical systems;
  3. appreciate basics of machine vision concepts applicable to robotics.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Kinematics and inverse kinematics for robots 30.00
2. Control for robots 30.00
3. Robot programming principles 5.00
4. Introduction to sensing for robots 10.00
5. Machine vision for robots 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Billingsley, J 2006, Essentials of mechatronics, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
    (ISBN: 0-471-72341-X-.)
  • Billingsley, J 2010, Essentials of Control Techniques and Theory, Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton.
    (ISBN: 9781420091236.)
  • Davies, ER 2004, Machine vision: theory, algorithms, practicalities, 3rd edn, Academic Press, San Diego.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 52.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 61.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 200 20 29 Aug 2011
ASSIGNMENT 2 200 20 03 Oct 2011
2 HOUR CLOSED EXAMINATION 600 60 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without extenuating circumstances then a penalty of 5% of the assigned mark may apply for each working day late up to a maximum of ten working days at which time a mark of zero can be recorded for that assignment.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the examination period at the end of the semester of the next offering of this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. The usual method of assessment submission for the Faculty is by written, typed or printed paper-based media (i) submitted to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mailed to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  5. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  6. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.59pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University's aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course: 1. Conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement. 2. Forms part of the Bachelor of Engineering and/or Bachelor of Engineering Technology program and is benchmarked against the: - USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review; and - professional accreditation standards of Engineers Australia.