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Inverse kinematic solutions are used in manipulator controllers to determine corrective joint motions for errors in end-effector position and orientation. Previous formulations of these solutions, based on the Jacobian matrix, are inefficient and fail near kinematic singularities. Vector formulations of inverse kinematic problems are developed that lead to efficient computer algorithms. To overcome the difficulties encountered near kinematic singularities, the exact inverse problem is reformulated as a damped least-squares problem, which balances the error in the solution against the size of the solution. This yields useful results for all manipulator configurations.