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A control problem involving a mechanical system with generalized coordinates q∈Rm is considered. The error in tracking a desired input yd∈Rp is e=E(q,yd)∈Rm. If E satisfies simple conditions, it leads to a nonlinear control law that assures e(t)→0 as t→∞. The law is robust in that small changes in it do not produce large steady-state errors or loss of stability. In this theory a unified framework is presented for treating a number of problems in the control of mechanical manipulators.