While most K-12 students associate the field of “Robotics” with mobile robots, undergraduate and basic graduate level courses in the subject tend to focus on serial link manipulator arms on fixed bases. Senior level “Robotics” course discussed in this paper, emphasize the latter. In the study of serial link manipulator arms, linear algebra, fundamentals of kinematics and dynamics, control systems, trajectory planning, programming languages, robotic sensors (particularly vision) play a dominant role. The abstract mathematical concepts are often difficult for the undergraduate students to fathom. Laboratory demonstration using industrial robotic arms provides some physical insight; however, it is seldom practical to let undergraduate students work on these machines on their own without appropriate supervision. Time constraints associated with credit/contact hours is also a deterrent and a practical reality. A combination of laboratory demonstration and use of software environment such as MATLAB and in particular the “Robotics Toolbox” integrated with the course lectures help convey important ideas related to spatial transformations, forward and inverse kinematics, forward and inverse dynamics, control, robotic vision and programming concepts related to the field of robotics to the undergraduate students in a meaningful framework. The “Robotics Toolbox” allow students to work on simulations of different manipulator arms, as well as create their own. The schematic visualization of the simulations reinforces important concepts covered in course lectures, as well as laboratory demonstration.

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