Carnegie Mellon University Personal Robotics Lab

RI 16-843: Manipulation Algorithms

Instructors: Siddhartha Srinivasa (siddh --

Lectures: M/W, 1:30-2:50, NSH 3002


This is an advanced graduate-level class on the theory and algorithms that enable robots to physically manipulate their world, on their own or in collaboration with people. The class will first focus on functional aspects of manipulation, such as synthesizing robust and stable grasps for dexterous hands, the geometry of manipulation configuration spaces, and motion planning in these space. Moving forward, we will discuss additional requirements that arise from performing manipulation tasks collaboratively with people: moving from functional to optimal motion, learning from demonstration, and coordination via understanding and expressing intent.

Course Syllabus

Important Dates

September 29
Project proposals due
October 29
Mid-term report due
December 1
Final presentations
December 3
Final presentations
December 15
Final report due
December 18
Final grades due


# Day Date Topic Reading Notes
1MAug 31 Introduction Creation Myths: The Beginnings of Robotics Research, Mason, IEEE RAM 19(2), 2012. URL
The Summer Vision Project, Papert, AIM, 1966. URL
2WSep 2 Configuration Space Spatial Planning: A Configuration Space Approach, Lozano-Perez, 1980. PDF Lecture
3MSep 7 No class - CMU holiday
4WSep 9 Manipulation Configuration Spaces An Approach to Autonomous Robot Assembly, Koditschek, 1994. PDF Lecture
5MSep 14 Student Presentations TBD
6WSep 16 Grasp Planning Grasping, Prattichizzo and Trinkle 2008. PDF Lecture
7MSep 21 Guest Lecture: TBD TBD
8WSep 23 Guest Lecture: TBD TBD
9MSep 28 Student Presentations TBD Lecture
10WSep 30 Experimental Design
11MOct 5 Student Presentations TBD Lecture
12WOct 7 Grasping Chapter 5 Multifingered Hand Kinematics, A Mathematical Introduction to Robotic Manipulation, Murray, Li, Sastry, 1994. URL
The condition for contact grasp stability, Montana, ICRA 1991. PDF
13MOct 12 Student Presentations TBD
14WOct 14 Grasp Planning Grasping, Prattichizzo and Trinkle 2008. PDF Lecture
15MOct 19 Student Presentations TBD
16WOct 21 Roadmaps Analysis of Probabilistic Roadmaps for Path Planning, Kavraki, Kolountzakis, and Latombe, 1998. PDF Lecture
17MOct 26 Student Presentations TBD
18WOct 28 Single-query Planners Path Planning in Expansive Configuration Spaces, Hsu, Latombe, and Motwani 1999. PDF
Randomized Kinodynamic Planning, Lavalle and Kuffner 1999. PDF
19MNov 2 Student Presentations TBD
20WNov 4 Planning in Cost Spaces Creating high-quality paths for motion planning, Geraerts and Overmars, 2007. PDF
Approaches for Heuristically Biasing RRT Growth, Urmson and Simmons, 2003. PDF
Anytime RRTs, Ferguson and Stentz, 2006. PDF
Sampling-based algorithms for optimal motion planning, Karaman and Frazzoli, 2011. PDF
21MNov 9 Student Presentations TBD
22WNov 11 Trajectory Optimization 1
23MNov 16 Student Presentations TBD
24WNov 18 Trajectory Optimization 2 CHOMP PDF
Spacetime Constraints PDF
25MNov 23 Student Presentations TBD
26WNov 25 No class - CMU holiday
27WNov 30 Challenges of Collaborative Manipulation MMP PDF
Intent Prediction PDF
Coordination PDF
28MDec 2 Student Presentations TBD
29WDec 7 Final Presentations 1 TBD
30MDec 9 Final Presentations 2 TBD