Learning Multivariable Controller Design: a Hands-on Approach with a Lego Robotic Arm

Victoria Serrano, Michael Thompson, Konstantinos Tsakalis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


In this paper we present the multivariable controller design of a Lego Mindstorms NXT robotic arm for educational purposes. System identification was performed to estimate the parameters of a coupled plant. Uncertainties and Bode plots of the coupled system were evaluated to determine that the system could be decoupled at the DC gain value. A Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controller was designed for the system after it was decoupled. These steps conform one of the basic techniques to design the controller for a multivariable system. Therefore, it is a valuable model to learn multivariable controller design for undergraduate students. This provides a hands-on approach experience in controller design where some aspects of advanced controller theory are blended with implementation details.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
ISSN (Print)2367-3370
ISSN (Electronic)2367-3389


  • Control Theory Class
  • Lego Brick
  • Multivariable System
  • Pseudo Random Binary Sequence
  • Step Response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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