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

By observing humans, robots learn to perform complex tasks such as setting a table.

The Solenoid Valve Health Monitor System (SVHMS) was developed to remotely monitor the health of solenoid valves, lowering operational costs and increasing reliability by predicting valve failures before they...

The new method produces strips of rubbery material that can pick up and release objects.
An inexpensive gyroscope could help drones and autonomous cars stay on track without a GPS signal.
Inspired by the octopus, the structure senses, computes, and responds without any centralized processing.
The technique could be used to improve navigation for robots, drones, or pedestrians.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Radiation-Hardened Gain Digitizer
This instrument has applications in medical equipment, robotics, and satellites.
The domino effect is used to design deployable systems that expand quickly with a small push and are stable and locked into place after deployment.
This technology could help control driverless cars and automated warehouses.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Square Structural Joint with Robotic Assembly Tool
Square trusses replace round for enhanced strength and robotics compatibility.
This technology cancels out the vibrations of a satellite by vibrating the solar panels in the opposite direction.

Robot-assisted surgery has advanced dramatically over the past decade in almost every surgical sub-specialty. Robot-assisted surgery is usually performed using surgical robot systems that...

Briefs: Motion Control
Optical Gyroscope-on-a-Chip
The gyroscope is smaller than a grain of rice — about 500 times smaller than the current state-of-the-art device.
The domino effect is used to design deployable systems that expand quickly with a small push and are stable and locked into place after deployment.
Hardware and software tweak microwave patterns to discover the most efficient way to identify objects.
Fuse devices enable circuit safety in high-power applications, such as motion control and alternative energy generation, in addition to electric vehicles.
The newest PLCs can directly access Internet resources, much like a mobile device, to obtain information for improving operations.
Applications include homeland security, vehicle anti-collision systems, telecommunications systems, and industrial instrumentation.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Soft, Flexible Materials with Enhanced Properties
These materials can be used in soft robotics, self-healing electronics, and medical devices.
Briefs: Motion Control
Low-Inductance DC Power Bus
The bus is designed for high-frequency, high-temperature operation in electric drive systems and next-generation power electronics.
Briefs: Motion Control
Spring Drive Fitting
Applications include valves, tubes, and other gas and fluid system components.
This technology could impact new directions in robotics design.
This framework can be used by commercial and military aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Insect-Inspired Arms Improve Drones
The new arm design enables unmanned aerial vehicles to fly in windy conditions.
The device retrains patients with spinal cord injury to sit more stably and gain an expanded active sitting workspace.
This mechanical gyroscope can advance motion sensing capabilities in consumer-sized applications.
The robot is built entirely from smaller robots and can form a robophysical system that can move by itself.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Dynamic Gripper Mimics Adjustable Grip of the Human Hand
Such grippers would be suited for human-robot partnership in assembly lines in the automotive, electronic packaging, and other industries.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flexure for Self-Assembly

Conventional fastening mechanisms like nails, bolts, and welds are subject to manufacturing and inspection tolerances, differential thermal growth, and other sources of error that lead to over-constraint, among...

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