IAAC – Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction
Hardware I
Faculty: Angel Muñoz, Matthew Gordon


Credits: Rod bending for ABB


Open source movement has unleashed human creativity, having a big impact in production, prototyping and innovation. It has enabled anyone to make IoT devices, drones, robotics and also customization to fit specific contexts. We will see how the advances made in the last years in the open source hardware and software ecosystem have allowed a fast growing of costly and complex systems with a lower budget and more friendly learning curves. Also we will walk through the main differences between open source hardware and industrial proprietary software.

In this seminar the students will be introduced on how to develop hardware projects covering the whole process including research, prototyping and documentation. During the first term we will focus on actuators like different types of motors, solenoid valves, pneumatics, relays, electromagnets  and how to control them from a microcontroller. After the first intensive week the class will spend the rest of the first term working on a project to create an end-effector tool using the actuators previously taught and to be installed on the ABB robot.


Learning objectives

The objective of the seminar is to give an overview of the state of the art in robotic actuation, discuss the practical implementation of such actuators, and brainstorm how these actuators  and the robotic arms could bring new levels of versatility, agility and efficiency to the production and construction processes.

At course completion the student will learn:

  • How to use microcontrollers and embedded systems
  • How to control different actuators like motors, relays, electrovalves, and more
  • Communication between ABB arm robot and custom end effector