525.786.31 - Human Robotics Interaction

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Spring 2024


This course provides an investigation of human-robot interaction and prosthetic control, with a focus on advanced man-machine interfaces including neural signal processing, electromyography, and motion tracking interfaces for controlling and receiving feedback from robotic devices. The course will also cover human physiology and anatomy, signal processing, intent determination, communications between the human and the device, haptic feedback, and telepresence. It is designed to be a hands-on course with class time spent in the dedicated robotics lab designing interfaces and performing experiments in a Virtual Integration Environment (VIE) and with robotic devices. Additional time in the lab, outside of class time, may be required to complete the course project. Programming for the class will be in MATLAB and Simulink.Prerequisite(s): Linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, and programming experience with Python or MATLAB


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Francesco Tenore

Course Structure

Classes are divided into Lecture and Lab. Lectures on topics will take place for the first 1/2 of the class time, and a Lab session based on the lecture topics will be the second 1/2 of the class time in the Robotics Lab. 
The course materials are divided into modules which can be accessed by clicking Modules on the course menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, and assignments. Lab Modules are on the Robotics Lab computers as MATLAB scripts.  You are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. Most modules run for a period of seven (7) days, exceptions are noted in the Course Outline. You should regularly check the Calendar and Announcements for assignment due dates.

Course Topics

Course Goals

To master the fundamental mathematical and system integration techniques to achieve human machine integration. Demonstrate these techniques by solving problems and completing of a team project that involves recording and characterizing human intent to control a robotic system in a natural and intuitive way, and achieve feedback to the user. This understanding can be applied to develop systems for rehabilitation, functional restoration, and creating human-like robotic capabilities.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Robotics, Vision and Control: Fundamental Algorithms in MATLAB (Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics) Second Edition 2017 by Peter Corke (Author) 

ISBN: 978-3-319-54412-0 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-54413-7 

Required Software

MATLAB for students 
The robotics toolbox that is associated with the textbook. Details provided in class (free download).  

Student Coursework Requirements

  1. Homework - Each student is required to complete all homework assignments to earn a course grade. Homework assignments will generally involve answering a scenario problem based upon a specific robotic concept or questions from the textbook. Homework assignments will be uploaded into the course site. (25% of final grade)
  2. Examinations – 2 summative assessments will be given, one at mid-term and one on the second to last class.  Each will contribute 15% to your final grade. Exact dates will be announced later during the semester. (30% of final grade each)
  3. Group Projects - A group project will require students to apply the skills developed in the earlier sessions of the course to the development of a control system for a robot. Teams will be made up of 3-4 students. Each team will be required to deliver a final project report and a presentation on the last day of class. All team members are expected to contribute to the team project. A discussion forum will be established for each team on the first week of class. The final team project presentations will be performed synchronously with the course instructors via Zoom. Team presentation dates/times will be scheduled during the first few weeks of class. (25% of final grade)
  4. Lab Practice - Most classes will be divided up into a classroom session for the first half and a lab session for the second half.  Participation in class and practice at the lab session is mandatory and more than 2 absences will degrade the ability to complete the final project.  (20% of final grade)

Grading Policy

EP uses a +/- grading system (see “Grading System”, Graduate Programs catalog, p. 10).

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-97= A+
96-93= A
92-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-77= C+
76-73= C
72-70= C−
69-67= D+
66-63= D
<63= F

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.