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Investigate the fascinating field of modern robotics in 24 lectures by a brilliant roboticist.
Robotics is rated 3.8 out of 5 by 40.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Starts slowly, but picks up momentum I am rather new to this field, so appreciated the slow start, even if a little too slow. It certainly picked up later. I like Dr. Long's easy-going manner and the range covered, although it does seem rather low-budget as others have noted. My only quibble (hence 4 stars) is that I believe Dr Long has skipped over some dystopian future possibilities, especially in the last lecture when he lists lots of positive possible robotic developments. I kept wanting him to list militarily-developed AI killing robots - not part of the "we" he frequently uses in the series. Even if he thinks this is a remote possibility (I don't) then THAT should be what he states, and why.
Date published: 2021-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Smooth operation Goods arrived very promptly. Very pleased with this firm. Courses excellent and very useful to be able to stream.
Date published: 2021-08-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from For 12 graders only I expected more from this TGC content where basic concepts are presented and complexities are completely avoided. For most of the part, course content can be googled and lacks sufficient insight. Close-up view of most equipment used in the lectures is absent. For example Roomba controller, which I believe is central in understanding of robotic floor mopper is skipped. In communication lecture, every engineering aspect is skipped. I feel the course can be easily compressed to less than 16 lectures after good video editing. Don't recommend this course because it lacks what you will come here looking for.
Date published: 2021-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Basic to intermediate This is my first time learning about robotics. I am a biomedical technician and used to repair CT, X-ray, nuclear medicine, and computers. Given that, the amount of information I learned was amazing! Yes, the lectures are aimed at high school students, but it was so well laid out and varied from lecture to lecture, I found myself watching 3 to 4 episodes, as it was too interesting to stop!
Date published: 2021-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good overview of robotics. Dr. Long's course provides a very good overview of all of the diverse aspects of robotics. I would recommend it for beginners as well as practitioners, since there are so many growth areas in robotics, that even experts cannot keep track of them all.
Date published: 2021-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting and well done! I found this course to be very interesting and covered a broad array of topics related to robotics. The professor was excellent and captured my interest from the begining. He was passionate and very knowledgeable. Totally enjoyable!
Date published: 2020-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Step-by-step Usable Lessons I've thought of getting this course for a few years now and glad I finally did. Professor John Long explains how a variety of robots are built, their many applications, and a glimpse at future robotic technology.
Date published: 2020-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good introduction The course provides a good introduction to Robotics. The Robotics Department at Vassar College seems to be a bit underfunded, and it shows. However, the lecturer does a good job with the rather meager resources available.
Date published: 2020-05-22
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Robots are real. They're all around you. And they're transforming your life. The future of civilization depends on collaborative robotics: humans and machines working together. With in-studio robot demonstrations and other amazing visual aids, Robotics demystifies the world of robots and provides a comprehensive introduction to these intelligent machines. This course is your passport to an astonishing new world.


John Long
John Long

The field of robotics offers an endlessly exciting way of seeing our world. Almost everything around you - any machine, any electronics component, any animal, anything that humans do - has potential implications for robotics, which has implications for you.


Vassar College

Dr. John Long is a Professor of Biology and a Professor of Cognitive Science on the John Guy Vassar Chair of Natural History at Vassar College. He also serves as the Director of Vassar's Interdisciplinary Robotics Research Laboratory, which he helped found in 2003. Professor Long received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Duke University.

Internationally recognized for his work in biorobotics and evolutionary robotics, Professor Long creates autonomous robotic models of animals-both living and extinct-in order to study how the animals work, behave, and evolve. He also designs and builds bioinspired robots in collaboration with computer scientists, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, physicists, and development-stage robotics companies. Professor Long's research currently is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He has received previous research funding awards from the NSF, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Professor Long is the author of Darwin's Devices: What Evolving Robots Can Teach Us about the History of Life and the Future of Technology. He and his robots have been featured in the journal Science, in the international press; on numerous news programs; and in science documentaries, including Through the Wormhole, Evolve, and Predator X.

By This Professor



The Arrival of Robot Autonomy

01: The Arrival of Robot Autonomy

Plunge into the world of robots with this engaging introduction. When did we start thinking about robots? What three components are responsible for so many advances in robot design? Why is behavioral autonomy so essential to the development of modern robotics?...

39 min
Robot Bodies and Trade-Offs

02: Robot Bodies and Trade-Offs

Why just watch robots when you can understand how they actually work? Deconstruct a Roomba to learn the five functional categories of parts all robots need. Then, explore a universal lesson about robotics: because robots can't do everything well, trade-offs (such as simplicity versus maneuverability) are always involved....

33 min
Robot Actuators and Movement

03: Robot Actuators and Movement

Investigate robot actuators: the motors and transmissions that underlie all robotic movement. You'll learn about the early use of springs as motors in automata; how electricity spins the magnets that make motors move; how movement defines what a robot is; and different types of motors (including DC and servo motors)....

33 min
Robot Sensors and Simple Communication

04: Robot Sensors and Simple Communication

Intelligent behavior in robots is rooted in the sensors that determine how much robots know about the world around them. Professor Long demonstrates how sensors work to communicate across the electromagnetic spectrum, including through infrared (like in Roombas) and visible light (for underwater robots that communicate using flashing blue lights)....

31 min
Robot Controllers and Programming

05: Robot Controllers and Programming

What turns a remotely controlled machine into an autonomous robot? Self-control. So where does self-control in robots come from? Find out in this lecture on robot controllers: the computer-like part of robots that uses sensory information to decide how the robot should achieve its immediate and long-term goals....

31 min
Human-Inspired Robot Planning

06: Human-Inspired Robot Planning

In robotics, the most important problem mobile robots must solve is how to navigate, or move with purpose, in the world. Here, learn how simultaneous localization and mapping (using internal models, beacons, and dead reckoning navigation) is the key to a robot's autonomy in both structured and exploratory situations....

31 min
Animal-Inspired Robot Behavior

07: Animal-Inspired Robot Behavior

Consider an approach to creating robots that's inspired not by maps but by the simple sense-and-act behavior of animals. You'll learn the benefits of behavior-based robotic architecture (including quicker reactions and stronger sensors), and see how simple animals including ants have inspired roboticists to build fascinating inventions....

30 min
Basic Skills for Making Robots

08: Basic Skills for Making Robots

So you want to make a robot. Where should you start? Learn how to work with tools like multimeters and solid-core wires; how to perform basic tasks including stripping wire and building simple circuits; and how to "hack" into existing robots to get them to perform tasks they weren't intended to do....

34 min
Designing a New Robot

09: Designing a New Robot

Move from kits and hacks into the actual design and construction of more complex robots for research or business. As you explore the iterative decision-making process used by robotics engineers, you'll meet intriguing robots including Madeline, the first transphibian vehicle, and RayBot, an artificial fish used for surveillance....

31 min
A Robot for Every Task?

10: A Robot for Every Task?

Wouldn't it be great to have a robot that took out your trash or put away your books? Explore how robots are designed to perform specific tasks, and the choices roboticists must consider in doing so-including the stability of the workplace and the minute steps of the task itself....

29 min
Robot Arms in the Factory

11: Robot Arms in the Factory

Each year, many tens of thousands of new robots are purchased to help us manufacture cars, medicines, and other everyday materials. And it all started with variations on the robotic arm. Here, examine early prototypes of pick-and-place robots; consider the trade-offs between range and control of motion; and ponder how far we've come with industrial robotics....

31 min
Mobile Robots at Home

12: Mobile Robots at Home

Advancements in modern robotics have made robots useful, safe, reliable, easy to use, and affordable to have in our homes. So how exactly do different home robots-such as vacuum cleaners like Roomba, gutter cleaners like Looj, and lawn mowers like MowBot-adjust to the unique demands of their respective tasks?...

33 min
Hospital Robots and Neuroprosthetics

13: Hospital Robots and Neuroprosthetics

Hospital robots have designs and functions meant to tackle the complexity of the modern medical workplace. First, discover how robots like HelpMate and Da Vinci work in patient wards, surgical theaters, and other settings. Then, delve into the burgeoning field of neuroprosthetics, which use the human nervous system for control of artificial limbs....

28 min
Self-Driving Vehicles

14: Self-Driving Vehicles

Lane changes, off-roading, irregular traffic patterns-how do robotic cars handle it all? Find out in this lecture on the trade-offs (especially between speed and safety) involved in creating self-driving vehicles. Peer into the future of how you're likely to get from place to place, perhaps without having to do a thing....

30 min
Flying Robots: From Autopilots to Drones

15: Flying Robots: From Autopilots to Drones

Take to the air for an eye-opening look at aerial robots, from the autopilot features in commercial airplanes to unmanned drones that can deliver packages. Topics include the role of gyroscopic sensors and recent technological advancements that are extending the functionality and power of flying robots like never before....

32 min
Underwater Robots That Hover and Glide

16: Underwater Robots That Hover and Glide

Some of the most exciting robots on the planet are found underwater. Here, learn how today's roboticists have developed unique solutions to creating autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), like Wave Glider, that have overcome critical challenges involving sensors, power supply, and design to do things like circumnavigate the globe or travel to great depths....

33 min
Space Robots in Orbit and on Other Worlds

17: Space Robots in Orbit and on Other Worlds

Find out how space missions have pushed us to the limits of what autonomous robots can do. Central to this lecture are several fascinating robots, including Robonaut 2 (a humanoid robot working on the International Space Station) and the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, who are helping us better understand the complex geography of Mars....

33 min
Why Military Robots Are Different

18: Why Military Robots Are Different

Explore the tension between semi-autonomous military robots and our need to oversee their safety and control. In looking at military robots such as the Predator unmanned aerial system and the Phalanx weapons system, you'll learn about the unique trade-offs involved in the speed and accuracy of action, and the ability to distinguish friend from foe....

33 min
Extreme Robots

19: Extreme Robots

Walking and running robots, whether they move on four legs or two, offer some of the most extreme physical challenges in all of robotics. What are the advantages of legged robots that make them so attractive to roboticists? How do robots with legs balance themselves and move around in different environments?...

33 min
Swarm Robots

20: Swarm Robots

A huge challenge in robotics is getting robots to work as a team to do things they can't do alone. Enter swarm robots: simple, similar mobile robots that combine to generate complex behaviors. Investigate this area of robotics that's barely in its infancy, but has vast potential for scientific research, military defense, and more....

28 min
Living Robots?

21: Living Robots?

Robots are starting to perform the core features of life, to the point where it may be possible to have a robot that actually "lives." Professor Long introduces you to robots that "eat" by harvesting energy; robots that "grow" by building and improving themselves; and robots that "evolve" by designing themselves autonomously....

29 min
Social Robots

22: Social Robots

Enter the brave new world of social robotics, where robots are built specifically to communicate with humans and other autonomous physical agents. With the help of the robot Baxter, discover how simple signals like spoken words, expressions, and body language can create a dynamic user interface between human and robot....

31 min
Humanoid Robots: Just like Us?

23: Humanoid Robots: Just like Us?

Have we reached the point where robots are becoming just like-if not better than-human beings? Probe this fascinating question by examining recent developments in artificial intelligence, robot bipedalism and dexterity, the concept of the "uncanny valley," and three imitation games (including the classic Turing test) to determine where we stand with humanoid robots....

32 min
The Futures of Robotics

24: The Futures of Robotics

Because it's a multidisciplinary field, there isn't just one future for robotics, but instead multiple futures. What could some of them look like? Consider everything from companion robots that can coordinate our activities to surgical robots that can work autonomously inside our bodies using updates from a "robotic cloud system."...

34 min