Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics

WS 2014 / 2015

Prof. Dr. Katja Mombaur & Dr. Manish Sreenivasa
Organization: Alexander Schubert

katja.mombaur (at)

manish.sreenivasa (at) 


Wednesday  9:15 - 12:45 (with break)
starting Oct 13, 2014
IWR, INF 368, room 432


nach Vereinbarung (per Mail)

Programming exercises

Fr 9:00 - 11:00, CIP-Pool, OMZ, basement

Henning Koch, henning.koch (at)

Objectives of lecture:

  • To give an application oriented introduction to modeling, optimization and control of mechanical systems with a focus on complex multibody systems in robotics and biomechanics.
  • To introduce computational tools to perform these tasks and apply them to examples in the computer exercises.


While the lecture focuses on the theoretical and mathematical foundations of the field, the computer exercises serve to teach the usage of software tools for modeling, visualization, simulation and optimal control treating different example problems.

  • Dynamic process modeling
  • Mechanical basics, kinematics, dynamics
  • Multibody system modeling
  • Simulation of motions
  • Nonlinear optimization
  • Direct methods for optimal control problems
  • Elementary control principles
  • Basics of system dynamics
  • Open-loop and closed loop control of motions
  • Modeling human-like walking and running motions
  • Modeling locomotion of humanoid and bipedall robots
  • Stability of motions

Contents of the computer exercises:

  • Simulation and visualization of mechanical systems
  • Modeling multibody system with RBDL (Rigid Body Dynamics Library)
  • Implementation and solution of optimal control problems with MUSCOD-II for different mechanical example systems.


Overview of lectures in WS 2014/15:


DateTopic slot 1 (9-11)Topic slot 2 (11 - 13)Lecturer
Oct.15, 2014Introduction & overviewDynamic process modelingKatja Mombaur
Oct 22, 2014Modeling mechanical systems 1 -- (canceled due to room problems)Katja Mombaur
Oct 29, 2014Modeling mechanical systems 2Multibody Kinematics 1Katja Mombaur
Nov 5, 2014Multibody Kinematics 2Multibody dynamics 1Katja Mombaur
Nov 12, 2014Multibody dynamics 2Boundary value problems 1Katja Mombaur
Nov 19, 2014Human modelingRobot modeling Manish Sreenivasa
Nov 26, 2014Boundary value problems 2OptimizationKatja Mombaur
Dec 3, 2014Optimal control Optimal control Katja Mombaur
Dec 10, 2014ControlControlManish Sreenivasa

Dec 17, 2014

ControlChristmas specialManish Sreenivasa/ Katja Mombaur
Jan 7, 2015Multi-phase optimal controlMulti-phase optimal controlKatja Mombaur
Jan 14, 2015StabilityStabilityKatja Mombaur
Jan 21, 2015Human controlRobot controlManish Sreenivasa
Jan 28, 2015Human neuromuscular controlDifferent topics in human modeling Manish Sreenivasa / Kahi-Long Ho Hoang / Martin Felis
Feb 4, 2015Written Exam



K. Mombaur,
Last Update: 03.02.2015 - 12:51

The photographs in the header of this webpage have been taken at the Musee de l'Automate in Souillac, France