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The early stages of robotics are recalled by tracing the evolution of robot manipulator programming languages. Initial manipulator control was by means of procedures embedded in a high-level language. This evolved into a geometric-based planning and execution system where planning was time-independent and execution was time-efficient. With the addition of sensor feedback and the need to develop the ad hoc procedures involved in assembly, an interpretative system evolved. Finally, we have come full circle with manipulator control once again embedded in a high-level language. This is now possible because of the development of high-level languages, the simplification of manipulator-control eliminating of the need to plan trajectories and to precalculate dynamics, and the increasing computer power available to provide for the economic real-time control of the manipulator.
Date of Publication: February 1985