Robotics, Automation & Control

Coming Soon - Autonomous Vehicle Standards – A Comprehensive Discussion

In Conjunction with SAE

Vehicle Connectivity, including the real prospects of hands-free and fully autonomous driving, is revolutionizing personal mobility as profoundly as the invention of the automobile did 130 years ago. Cars, light trucks, and commercial vehicles equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P), and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies will reduce crashes, energy consumption and pollution, as well as mitigate the costs associated with traffic and parking congestion.

Posted in: Upcoming Webinars, Automation
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Will origami-inspired crawler robots support pipe inspection?

This week’s lead story featured an origami-inspired robot. Assistant professor Aimy Wissa sees possible pipe inspection applications for the crawler.

"Pipes have different kinds of diameters, and you want something that can fit in there with ease," Wissa said in our Tech Briefs Q&A.

What do you think? Will origami-inspired crawler robots support pipe inspection?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Robotics
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3D Printing Buyers Guide

3D printing has become a powerful force in today’s manufacturing industry from prototyping to end-use production. Many businesses struggle to find the right additive manufacturing solutions that suit their needs and provide return on investment (ROI). Selecting the right platform to prevent manufacturing roadblocks is vital to optimizing your manufacturing line productivity.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Automation, Robotics
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Learning to Crawl: Origami Robot Moves Like an Earthworm

A new mechanical innovation unfolded this month at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a team of engineers built a new kind of crawler robot. The wheel-less design takes inspiration from two unconventional sources: origami and the earthworm.

Posted in: News, Materials, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Robotics
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Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris

Currently there are about 500,000 pieces of human-made debris in space, orbiting our planet at speeds up to 17,500 miles per hour. This debris poses a threat to satellites, space vehicles, and astronauts aboard those vehicles. However, cleaning up the debris is problematic. For example, suction cups don’t work in a vacuum, and traditional sticky substances like tape are largely useless because the chemicals they rely on can’t withstand extreme temperature swings.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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Wireless Magnetic Field Powers Folding Robots

A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University has created battery-free folding robots that are capable of complex, repeatable movements powered and controlled through a wireless magnetic field. The system requires only basic, passive electronic components on the robot to deliver an electric current, and the structure of the robot itself takes care of the rest.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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Sound-Off: How Do Collaborative Robots Spot Human Operators?

In a “speed and separation” manufacturing scenario, a safe distance must be maintained between a collaborative robot and a human operator. When the gap reaches below a specific threshold, the cobot then initiates a monitored stop. But how does the robot “see” the human?

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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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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