A robot system having various work stations and control means which allows recognition of the identity, position and geometry of a plurality of the work stations and assures movement of a robot manipulator among the work stations without its colliding with them even if new work stations are substituted for original work stations or if work stations of substantially different geometry are moved from one position to another. In a particularly advantageous aspect of the invention, the control means of the robot system derives its operating and clearing procedures from information fed to it from intelligence, or code, that is specifically associated with each of the work stations. This arrangement allows rapid set up of a laboratory robot to perform any of a large number of combinations of events. It also makes it practical to provide a robotic system to the customer which can be practically pre-programmed to 'hand' sample-associated data from work station to work station, thereby effectively tracking such sample parameters as volume and mass.
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