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.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
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Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A production-based X-ray solution performs product quality evaluation directly on the manufacturing line.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The soft material demonstrates autonomous, heartbeat-like oscillating properties.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
The system uses infrasonic acoustics for weather monitoring and for drone or UAV activity.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
These tiny aerial robots can operate in cramped spaces and withstand collisions.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A robot could immediately alert a human of small changes in their surrounding environment.
Briefs: AR/AI
The system enables robots to predict what their human coworker will do next.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
This system enhances processing via real-time, non-destructive defect tracking.
Briefs: Imaging
This could lead to the commercial development of smart glass, with applications ranging from imaging to advanced robotics.
Briefs: Motion Control
The system could one day replace LiDAR and cameras in automated manufacturing, biomedical imaging, and autonomous driving.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Biobots based on muscle cells can swim at unprecedented velocities.
Briefs: Motion Control
Exoskeleton legs are capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using artificial intelligence technology.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A catalytic reaction causes a two-dimensional, chemically coated sheet to spontaneously morph into a three-dimensional gear.
Briefs: Motion Control
The machines fold themselves within 100 milliseconds and can flatten and refold thousands of times.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
The walking quadruped is controlled and powered by pressurized air.
Briefs: Motion Control
The design could contribute to various applications in the robotics field such as smart prosthetics and human-robot interaction.
Briefs: Motion Control
New high bus voltage stepper motor systems avoid the complexity and expense of servo motors.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
This work could lead to much more robust devices that continue to operate in spite of damage.
Briefs: Software
The software could help reduce cost and waste for companies using additive manufacturing to mass-produce parts in factories.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
This software could also be used for indoor navigation assistance for the visually impaired.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Applications include portable aerospace structures and terrestrial structures such as cleanrooms and field hospitals.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
The software automatically checks mission operations logs.
Briefs: Motion Control

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center developed designs for two micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) motion and position sensors: a single-axis accelerometer and a gyroscope....

Briefs: Motion Control

Innovators have developed an RFID-based system for sensing the angular position of rotating systems. The RFID-Based Rotary Position Sensor can be used as a position/orientation sensor or implemented in a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The new hinge is the key to get loadbearing, large quadrotors to climb a few dozen feet in seconds.
Briefs: Materials
Potential applications include parachutes, hot air balloons, weather balloons, blimps, sails, and parasails.
Briefs: Data Acquisition
An algorithm runs onboard a vehicle, providing important real-time data to aid in steering the craft.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
This technology provides drones sufficient time and distance to react, avoid wires, and navigate follow-on maneuvers.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous quadcopters can be trained using simulations to increase their speed, agility, and efficiency.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The paper-like material could be useful in soft robots, sensors, artificial muscles, and electric generators.

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