Retrotechtacular: Shakey Shows Off Robotics Innovation From 1972

In this installement of Retrotechtacular we’re taking a look at Shakey, a robot developed between 1966 and 1972 at the Stanford Reserach Lab. This was a glorious time when students had long hair but still wore long sleeves and ties to do their research.

The robot is actually communicating wirelessly with the PDP-10 computer which handles the processing. No computer monitor is used for interacting with the robot. Instead, a teletype machine lets you type out your commands on paper, and the response from the machine is printed back to you on the same sheet. There’s a camera which is used for image recognition, and sensors that give feedback when the body comes in contact with an obstacle.

We’d sure love to know what kind of budget this project had, but alas we couldn’t find any info about that. You can go and see Shakey in person if you want to. This info page mentions that the machine is on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

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