Shaping the Future of Service Robotics

Robots emerged in the early 1960s as a way to automate the monotonous and dangerous tasks in factories around the world. As time passed and new technologies emerged, these robots have taken a place outside of the industrial market and alongside humans in manufacturing and non-manufacturing applications alike.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics

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How to Select a DC Motor: Coreless and Iron Core Brushed DC Motors

DC motors possess linear relationships that allow for very predictable operation. Motion control manufacturers and designers depend greatly on the premise that these linear relationships will hold true, since the laws of physics do not change. However, despite their simplicity, selecting a DC motor for an application can still be a daunting task. There are many other variables to take into account including dimensions, load, duty cycle, etc. This white paper provides an overview on Coreless / Brushed DC motors, and what to consider before committing.

Posted in: White Papers, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Automation

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Mechanical Metamaterials Block Symmetry of Motion

These nonreciprocal metamaterials can benefit applications such as soft robotics, prosthetics, and energy harvesting.Engineers and scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and the AMOLF institute in the Netherlands have invented mechanical metamaterials that easily transfer motion in one direction while blocking it in the other. The material can be thought of as a mechanical one-way shield that blocks energy from coming in but transmits it going out the other side. The researchers developed the nonreciprocal mechanical materials using metamaterials, which are synthetic materials with properties that cannot be found in nature.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Product development, Fabrication, Materials properties

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Portable Superconductivity Systems for Small Motors

Substituting for a conventional permanent magnet, this system can produce a 3-tesla magnetic field.Superconductivity, where electrical currents travel unhindered through a material, has many practical uses. It is used in applications extending from MRIs in hospitals to the cavities of particle accelerators. However, practical exploitation of superconductivity also presents many challenges.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Downsizing, Off-board vehicle charging systems, Nuclear energy, Conductivity, Magnetic materials, Electric motors

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BiBlade Sampling Chain

This tool enables multiple sampling attempts per sample.The BiBlade sampler has been developed for potentially acquiring samples from the surface of a planetary body. The tool could conceivably be used in both in situ and notional sample return missions to planetary bodies including asteroids, comets, and moons. While the tool was designed for planetary sampling missions, it could have terrestrial applications as well.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Soils, Tools and equipment, Robotics, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

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Six-Legged Robots Move Faster with Bipod Gate

The two-legged gait is more efficient for ground robots that don't climb walls or ceilings.Six-legged insects run fastest using a three-legged (tripod) gait where they have three legs on the ground at all times (two on one side of their body and one on the other). The tripod gait has long inspired engineers who design six-legged robots, but researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) revealed that there is a faster way for robots to move on flat ground, provided they don't have the adhesive pads used by insects to climb walls and ceilings. Their work suggest designers of insect-inspired robots should give up the tripod-gait paradigm and consider other possibilities, including a new locomotor strategy denoted as the “bipod” gait.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Computer simulation, Mathematical models, Kinematics, Robotics, Biomechanics

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Reducing Inaccuracies in Force/Haptic Feedback Systems

This novel algorithm automatically compensates for the errors introduced by physical factors, enabling the control system to Adjust the applied force accurately.Researchers at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a new technology to reduce inaccuracies in force/haptic feedback devices and systems. Used at NASA in aircraft simulations for force feedback pilot controls, these systems involve a servo motor applying precise force to a specific point based on very accurate measurements. However, because the force instrumentation often cannot be placed directly at the point of interest, a mechanical assembly is used, linking the force transducer to the target point. Unfortunately, this mechanical assembly introduces inaccuracies due to its own forces of gravity, friction, and inertia.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Computer simulation, Mathematical models, Human machine interface (HMI), Aircraft operations, Reliability

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Magnetic Fields Enable New Soft Robots

Researchers from North Carolina State University have a found a new way to control robots. The team used magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices.

Posted in: News, Joining & Assembly, Drug Delivery, Automation, Robotics

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Origami-Inspired Robot Can Ride with a Rover

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) that’s in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, was inspired by origami. It travels with a rover, and its lightweight design can flatten itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places rovers can’t fit.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics

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Eliminating Blind Spots in Commercial Trucking with IoT

Technology is becoming a critical business tool for truck manufacturers, fleet operators, and service centers. On-board diagnostics and telematic systems are a first step, but only provide a singular view and limited scalability. A more comprehensive view of truck health delivers reliability, improved uptime, and faster repairs; but this requires examining a larger and richer set of engine data together with external sources.

Posted in: White Papers, Information Sciences, Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Software

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