Motion Control

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain

Traditional robots often feature isolated mechanical joints. These discrete components limit a rover’s ability to traverse sand, stone, and other challenging environments. A team at the University of California San Diego has demonstrated a more flexible option: a soft robot that lifts its legs over obstacles and operates on a variety of terrains. The 3D-printed quadrupedal technology may someday support search-and-rescue missions requiring intelligent navigation capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Terrain, Kinematics, Additive manufacturing, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles
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High-Temperature Actuators Bend as They “Breathe”

The mechanical components are made from films that expand and contract as they let oxygen in and out.

Extreme temperatures are hard for mechanical components to endure without degrading. To address the problem, researchers at MIT worked with several other universities to develop a new way to make actuators that could be used in exceptionally hot environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Heat resistant materials, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation
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3D-Printed Tensegrity Object Can Change Shape

The technology creates a large, lightweight, strong object that can be flattened and then expanded to its full size when heated.

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3D printers to create objects capable of dramatic expansion. The technology could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices. The new 3D-printed objects use tensegrity, a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. The researchers fabricated the struts from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication, Materials properties, Polymers, Smart materials
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Flat, Triangular Modules Connect to Form Origami Robot

Using two genderless mechanisms, module sides are connected and folded to create reconfigurable 3D structures.

Origami robots are composed of thin structures that can fold and unfold to change shape. They are compact and lightweight, but have functional restrictions related to size, shape, and how many folds can be created. On the other hand, modular robots use large numbers of individual entities to reconfigure the overall shape and address diverse tasks. These robots are more flexible when it comes to shape and configuration, but they are generally bulky and complex.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication, Robotics, Lightweight materials, Materials properties
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Straws Help Create Simple Robot Joints

Plastic drinking straws and inflatable tubing are used to build machines that walk like insects.

Inspired by arthropod insects and spiders, Harvard professor George Whitesides and Alex Nemiroski, a former postdoctoral fellow in Whitesides’ Harvard lab, used ordinary plastic drinking straws to create a type of semi-soft robot capable of standing and walking. The team also created a robotic water strider capable of pushing itself along the liquid surface.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Design processes, Robotics, Materials properties, Plastics
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Motor Control Technology Boosts Performance of Remotely Piloted Aircraft

PC Krause and Associates
West Lafayette, IN
For more info click here

With support from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program, PC Krause and Associates (PCKA) has developed a system that could meet a wide range of small aircraft electrical power and propulsion system needs. The company was aiming for its new modular motor drive system to fill the gap between existing commercial equipment and custom solutions at a cost that is viable for most remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) platforms.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Fly-by-wire control systems, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Fly-by-wire control systems, Electric motors, Military aircraft, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Advanced Tool Drive System (ATDS) Camera Positioning Mechanism (CPM)

Robotic servicing of a satellite in low earth orbit (LEO) or geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) requires advanced systems capable of meeting the harsh environments of space. To support this effort, the Goddard Space Flight Center Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) has developed a camera positioning mechanism that will be capable of viewing features on a client satellite. Application of the CPM technology would be in multiple areas of spaceflight requiring robotic servicing including space exploration, planetary science, Earth science, and manned spaceflight.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Positioning Equipment, Optics, Optics, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Robotics, Satellites
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Oil Sheer Clutch Cuts Downtime for Metal Stamping Press

Replacing a mechanical clutch, the oil sheer technology supplies constant, reliable tension on the stock feeding a 400-ton press to deliver precision and repeatability.

In the metal stamping business, precision, repeatability, and uptime are key. But stamping accuracy suffers when improper tension on the coil feeders incorrectly supplies metal to the presses, resulting in off-spec parts and increased rejections. ART Technologies of Fairfield, OH, relies on an oil shear clutch brake to supply constant, reliable tension on the coil feeding to one of its 400-ton presses to produce the precision and repeatability it needs, with no downtime for maintenance or adjustment. When the plant is working 20 hours a day, that uptime is as critical as the tolerances it maintains.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Stamping, Parts
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Cooling Solution Helps NASA Get Closer to Mars

Cold conditioning system
Aggreko
Houston, TX
281-985-8200
www.aggreko.com
Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Research and development, Cooling, Spacecraft
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Custom Brakes Meet the Challenges of Gearless Motor Elevators

Standard braking systems could not meet the difficult speed, energy, and dynamic torque constraints.

A manufacturer of low and high-rise elevators faced a challenge when customers began calling for a flexible elevator to meet the needs of the growing mid-rise, mixed-use building market. The global construction boom of mid-rise buildings can be attributed to several factors. Developers are more apt to build “short” because it requires less capital and the time to get permits approved is reduced considerably, especially in developing countries.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Braking systems, Needs assessment, Product development
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