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A wonderful early robotics reference: AIM-177

Somebody recently asked me about this Stanford AI lab technical memo which I cite in my book:

Modelling, trajectory calculation and serving of a computer controlled arm.
Richard Paul
November 1972

It’s hard to get hold of, but I did get my hands on a copy once, so for the benefit of posterity (and future digital archaeologists) I am sharing it.

AIM-177

The top right of every page is a 3D line drawing (computer generated) of the Stanford arm doing a task.  If this were a print document that would be a flip book.  It would be super cool to extract this and turn it into an animated GIF…

It’s Richard (Lou) Paul’s PhD dissertation and covers a lot of topics that are now in the realm of undergraduate curriculum and hobbyists, and commodified in many software packages.  It was later published as a textbook

Robot Manipulators: mathematics, programming and control.  The computer control of robot manipulators
Richard P. Paul
MIT Press 1981

but is sadly now out of print.  It was my first robotics textbook and I do remember being deeply confused by many of the concepts its covered.  I had the honour to work with Lou Paul at the GRASP Lab (U.Penn) in 1988.  My own book Robotics, Vision & Control was inspired by Lou (and his book) and includes a dedication to him.


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