Tech Briefs

Motion Control/​Automation

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on motion control and automation, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Latest Tech Briefs

This material could be used for artificial muscles that power bio-inspired robots.
Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range.
Features include unusual color changes and high touch sensitivity.
This technology provides rapid results, improving hospital workflow and patient care.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Technique Mass-Produces Cell-Sized Robots
This process could lead to tiny, self-powered devices for environmental, industrial, or medical monitoring.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Engineers 3D-Print Sensors Onto Moving Organs
Designed to assist in robotic surgeries, biomedical devices can be printed in and on the human body.
The “E-dermis” will enable amputees to perceive through prosthetic fingertips.
This approach could be used to cost-effectively make soft robots and wearable technologies.
Briefs: Motion Control
Gripper Handles Freely Moving Cables
The gripper’s soft, sensitive fingers could enable robots to help with tying knots, wire shaping, or surgical suturing.
Briefs: Unmanned Systems
Wireless Aquatic Robot Cleans Water
Inspired by a coral polyp, this plastic mini robot moves by magnetism and light.
Complex locomotion techniques enable the rover to climb hills covered with soft granular material.
This technology can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips.
Applications include absorbers, tuned mass dampers, harmonic absorbers, and seismic dampers.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
4D Printing of Morphing Structures
A new method manufactures complex shapeshifters for soft robots and biomedical implants.
An ultrafast image sensor with a built-in neural network can be trained to recognize certain objects.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wearable Strain Sensor Using Light Transmittance
This technology shows potential for the detection of subtle human motions and the real-time monitoring of body postures for healthcare applications.
The sensor has applications in fields such as robotics, healthcare, and security.
This technique offers enhanced resolution and improved system reliability for mapping and obstacle recognition and navigation for vehicles.
Multiple commercial applications include defense, search and rescue, and disaster relief.
Briefs: Propulsion
Bio-Inspired Propulsion
Frequencies and passive dynamics of vehicles moving in air or water help enhance propulsion performance.
A fleet of “roboats” could transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.
A new low-cost imaging system could make it easier to track mosquito species that carry disease, enabling a more timely and targeted response.
Sensors in the hand can actually detect forces being transmitted through the thickness of the robot.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robot Automates Blood Drawing and Testing
The device provides quick results and gives healthcare workers more time to treat patients in hospitals and other settings.
An automated system cuts the energy required for training and running neural networks.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Navigation Measurement Software
This program provides a relative navigation capability for spacecraft, remotely operated terrestrial vehicles, and machine vision.
Combined muscles and sensors made from soft materials allow for adaptable robots.
This type of energy source could be the basis for robots that seek out and “eat” metal, breaking down its chemical bonds for energy like humans do with food.
By observing humans, robots learn to perform complex tasks such as setting a table.

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