Motion Control

Sliding Gait for ATHLETE Mobility

A new concept was developed for a walking-driving hybrid in which wheels are repositioned by sliding them along the ground.

ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is a multipurpose mobility platform for planetary surfaces. It is a cross between a wheeled rover and a walking robot, and travels using powered wheels mounted on the end of each of six robotic limbs. Each limb is a fully articulated robotic manipulator with six or seven degrees of freedom.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Motion Control, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles

Couplings Synchronize Motion in Pipe Bending System

Pines Technology’s (Westlake, OH) Model 250 Heavy Duty CNC bender is a powerful automatic precision system for fast, repeatable bending of tube and pipe up to 10" in diameter. Providing fast setup and changeover advantages, this giant bender has an advanced level of programming to deliver automated high performance and flexibility in tube and pipe bending operations.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Parts

Motors Power NASA’s Interactive Humanoid Tour Guide

RoboThespian is a programmable, interactive humanoid robot designed to communicate, interact, and entertain. First developed in 2006 by Cornish company Engineered Arts, RoboThespian stands 5'9", with a full range of upper-body movement and human-like eyes. NASA will employ the robot’s third generation as a figurehead — meeting and greeting over 1.5 million visitors per year at its futuristic Cape Canaveral base.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motors & Drives, Human machine interface (HMI), Air transportation facilities, Robotics, Biomechanics

Custom Drive System Helps Mercedes-Benz Reduce Draft in Convertibles

The AIRCAP® automatic draft stop, offered in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class convertibles, is distinctively different from conventional angular wind deflectors. It is entirely embedded into the car body and completely concealed into the windshield frame when deactivated. In its activated state, an aerodynamically shaped wind deflector extends on top of the windshield without disfiguring the automobile’s aesthetic side line.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Air deflectors, Aerodynamics

Linear Stage Brings Speed and Precision to Semiconductor Inspection

With some of the most demanding quality control regimens of any industry, semiconductor manufacturers use a variety of sophisticated metrology instruments to inspect wafers at each production step. All of these instruments have something in common: They simply will not function without precision motion stages.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Semiconductors, Quality control, Quality control, Inspections

Gait Analysis Based on Inertial and Magnetic Sensors

Motion analysis often is based on stereophotogrammetry, which estimates the three-dimensional coordinates of points on an object by measurements made in two or more photographic images taken from different positions. While it provides very useful and detailed information about walking, the technique’s full capability of quantitative analysis of movement often is not used.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Kinematics, Magnetic materials

Connectors Enable Precise Movement of Lunar Robotic Tool Changer

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA hired Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corp. to develop a totally mechanical tool changer for the end of what Langley’s Lunar Surface Manipulation System (LSMS) team describes as a robot that could unload landers. Then, after the landers were unloaded, it could, in addition to doing base assembly, mate with tools to take science experiments. This robot could be likened to a crane, but with more dexterity.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Tools and equipment, Robotics, Fasteners, Entry, descent, and landing

Motion Control Components Keep Curiosity on the Go

PI Ceramic monolithic piezo actuators (PICMA) were put to use in the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. CheMin is an Xray diffraction-capable mineralogy instrument whose purpose is to determine if water was present in the formation of Martian rocks and soil.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Soils, Water, Ceramics, Chemicals, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

Motion Controllers as Data Acquisition and Testing Tools

Manufacturers often need to test their products to verify that they meet customer specifications, and provide the data that verifies specification compliance. This is particularly true when government contracts are involved, public money is being spent, and public safety is an issue. Often, separate electronic subsystems are used to apply the stimulus and measure the results, but if the same module that applies the stress can also record the response, more cost-effective testing systems can be built. An added capability that is often overlooked by material strength and durability test system designers is the power of some motion controllers to also serve as data acquisition support or input devices.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation

Compact, Low-Force, Low-Noise Linear Actuator

This actuator has potential uses in military and automotive applications.

Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space activities. There are many types of actuators that were designed to operate as linear or rotary motors, but there is still a need for low-force, low-noise linear actuators for specialized applications, and the disclosed mechanism addresses this need.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Motion Control, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Robotics, Electric motors

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