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From 1966 through 1972, the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International (then Stanford Research Institute) conducted research on a mobile robot system nicknamed “Shakey.” Endowed with a limited ability to perceive and model its environment, Shakey could perform tasks that required planning, route-finding, and the rearranging of simple objects. Although the Shakey project led to numerous advances in AI techniques, many of which were reported in the literature, much specific information appears only in a series of previously relatively inaccessible SRI technical reports.
In 1969, the demonstrations of Shakey were collected in a 24-minute film “SHAKEY: Experimentation in Robot Learning and Planning” (91.7MB RealVideo). The possibilities of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence caught the public's imagination. After an April 10, 1968, article in the New York Times about Shakey and two other robot efforts (MIT & Stanford), Life Magazine refered to Shakey as the “first electronic person” in 1970. In November 1970, the National Geographic Magazine also carried a picture of Shakey in an article on the present uses and future possibilities of computers.
Originally, Shakey was controlled by a SDS-940 computer acquired in 1966 with 64K 24-bit words of memory. Programmed in Fortran and Lisp, Shakey's problem solving was done in QA3. This was replaced by a “large” PDP-10 around 1969 with 192K 36-bit words of memory. STRIPS was then used for problem solving, with QA4 developed later. When the movie was made, Shakey's programs occupied over “300,000 36-bit words” (~1.35MB).
These publications cover six projects that involved Shakey and associated AI efforts.
A good overview of Shakey can be found in the AIC Technical Note 323.
These reports are ordered from earliest to most recent.
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