Shakey began in 1966 at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International).
Over years of research, this ungainly "bot" developed into a milestone application of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Shakey... so-called because of its jerky motion... was the first mobile robot that could claim to reason about its actions. The design was practical, not elegant... a box of electronics on wheels, with bump detectors at the base and a TV camera and triangulating range finder for a head.
As exhibited in the 1972 "Shakey" film produced by researchers Peter Hart and Nils Nilsson, Shakey was an intelligent robot. At first, it talked to large computers through a cable, and then through a wireless radio link.
Shakey had programs for seeing, reasoning, and acting. It even had limited language capability; commands could be typed into Shakey's computer in English, and it would type back a response.
Shakey's great accomplishment was that it could take general instructions that were not "step-by-step" and still figure out how to accomplish the objective.
In a typical demonstration, Shakey would receive instructions from a team member asking it to move blocks around a room. Shakey would make and execute plans to achieve the goal. Shakey was even able to adjust to surprises like an object in its path.
Shakey was a true pioneer in demonstrating the entire range of robot capabilities.
Shakey, we salute you on your induction into the Robot Hall of Fame!
Photo courtesy SRI International