Tech Briefs

Motion Control/​Automation

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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

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
This robotic arm fuses data from a camera and antenna to locate and retrieve items buried under piles and completely out of view.
Briefs: Aerospace
Vibration-absorbing resonators could better soundproof walls and make vehicles more streamlined.
Briefs: Motion Control
The tiny motors mimic how rock climbers navigate inclines.
Briefs: Energy
The soft and stretchable device converts movement into electricity and can work in wet environments.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
In a collapsed building or on rough terrain, a robot could balance itself and move forward with just its feet.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The technology could improve the control of prosthetic hands and provide a sense of “touch” for amputees.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A system uses tiny magnetic beads to rapidly measure the position of muscles and relay that information to a bionic prosthesis.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Artificial intelligence helps train robots to work together to move an object around two obstacles and through a narrow door in computer simulations.
Briefs: Imaging
The system could one day replace LiDAR and cameras in automated manufacturing, biomedical imaging, and autonomous driving.
Briefs: AR/AI
Exoskeleton legs are capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using artificial intelligence technology.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
A deep-learning technique optimizes the arrangement of sensors on a robot’s body to ensure efficient operation.
Briefs: Materials
The soft robot harvests energy from a laser beam and can crawl on horizontal surfaces and climb vertical walls and an upside-down glass ceiling.
Briefs: Motion Control
A low-cost, dynamically controlled surface for 3D printers reduces waste and saves time.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
An alternative, environmentally friendly production method creates permanent magnets.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The robot can walk, run, jump, and interact with the environment in synchrony with a human operator.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Applications include wearables, airplane cabin monitoring, medical diagnostics, and indoor air quality measurement.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
This work could help severely injured people, such as soldiers, regain the ability to control their movements.
Briefs: Imaging
These tactile imaging sensors can measure pressure distribution without using pressure-sensitive materials.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The approach could lead to more flexible health monitors, wearable devices, sensors, optical communication systems, and soft robotics.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The valve enables telerobotic resupplying of media such as propellant and pressurant.
Briefs: Motion Control
Oscillatory and rotational motions of different parts are combined to pave the way to developing super-miniaturized mechanical devices.
Briefs: Materials
A connection between electricity and mechanical motion in soft, rubber-like materials could improve robot range.
Briefs: Materials
This artificial muscle technology enables more human-like motion.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
This below-the-hook device enables gentle crane placement to decrease the risk of property damage.
Briefs: Aerospace
SMA tube elements drive rotary and ring gear motion in compact, powerful actuators.
Briefs: Aerospace
The lightweight brake rotor design with high heat dissipation uses novel surface cooling technology.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The robot firmly but gently grasps objects as small as 1 millimeter in diameter.
Briefs: Automotive
Solid-state batteries offer a higher level of safety and potentially longer life than lithium-ion batteries.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The algorithm speeds up the planning process robots use to adjust their grip on objects for picking and sorting or tool use.

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