Control of a robot using inverse kinematics

Study level


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor Thierry Peynot
Associate Professor and Mining3 Chair in Mining Robotics
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The Medical and Healthcare Robotics Group at QUT is currently researching on vision-guided robotic devices to assist surgeons in performing better and safer surgeries.

The tool center point (TCP) of a robot is the point in relation to which all robot positioning is defined. This point is typically placed at the robot's end-effector to specify its motion is space. For surgical operations the location of the TCP needs to be changed regularly to facilitate the robot's approach to delicate organs.

In particular, our group utilises a robotic manipulator (Jaco v2 from Kinova Robotics) with a customised end-effector for arthroscopy. We are interested in exploring the motion control of such arthroscopic end-effector.

Research activities

You will be provided with the TCP of the customised end-effector from CAD files (i.e. drawings). You will investigate how to integrate the end-effector model with the Kinova robot. Correct positioning of the arthroscopic end-effector needs be validated experimentally. The main tasks include:

  • using the Robot Operating System (ROS) to control the motion of a robot
  • investigating the Universal Robotic Description Format (URDF) for the Kinova Jaco V2 and its customised end-effector. Use of URDF and inverse kinematics to control the robot's end-effector position.
  • validating and refining the TCP for the customised end-effector.


The outcome of the project should be a demonstrator in which the user can:

  • specify one of three predefined TCP locations.
  • manipulate the robot with respect to the selected TCP.

Both the translation and rotation of the end-effector should be controllable by the user.

It is also expected that the end-effector's TCP location can be refined by the student through experimentation or (if time permits) calibration.

Skills and experience

As an ideal candidate you should have a strong interest in robotics and/or medical sciences.

You will get the opportunity to develop and test algorithms with a real robot.

You will also have contact with biologists and orthopedic surgeons, and gain valuable insights into how robotics can improve the healthcare system.

Required skills

Programming experience with C/C++ or Python

Basic knowledge of robot direct and inverse kinematics

Preferred skills

Programming experience with ROS.



Contact the supervisor for more information.