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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Advanced Humanoid Robotic Hand Technologies
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Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs: Unmanned Systems
The ability to emit light also brings these microscale robots, which weigh barely more than a paper clip, one step closer to flying on their own outside the lab.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Researchers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin recently created the first ever solid-state optical nanomotor.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The technology could be useful in manufacturing and assembly plants for sorting packages, or in any environment where humans and robots collaborate.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A new general-purpose optimizer can speed up the design of walking robots, self-driving vehicles, and other autonomous systems.
Briefs: Motion Control
Interactive program aids motion planning for environments with obstacles.
Briefs: Design
Acoustic optimization for anti-phase asymmetric rotor.
Briefs: AR/AI
The piezoelectric “meta-bot” is capable of propulsion, movement, sensing, and decision-making.
Briefs: Communications
Researchers built electroluminescent soft artificial muscles for flying, insect-scale robots.
Briefs: AR/AI
The robots will be challenged to carry out work too dangerous for humans.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gust load alleviation is an increasing concern for the design of fixed-wing aircraft with ultra-high aspect wings.
Briefs: Propulsion
A lightweight alternative to rudders for aircraft with spanwise adaptive wings.
Briefs: Aerospace
A self-aligning, self-healing system for pneumatics and cryogenics with applications in aerospace.
Briefs: Software

The automation of additive manufacturing (AM) is limited and usually still requires human labor workflows, including the fundamental step of removing the finished object from the printer...

Briefs: Software

Robotic assistants are expected to become increasingly marketable as caregivers; however, the external hard structure of current caregiving robots prevents them from establishing a safe human-robot interaction....

Briefs: Software

In-space and planetary surface assembly for human exploration is a challenging domain that encompasses various technological thrusts to support human missions. NASA is developing autonomous assembly agents to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Robots are good at making identical repetitive movements such as a simple task on an assembly line. But they lack the ability to perceive objects as they move through an environment. A...

Briefs: Imaging

Robotic vision has come a long way, reaching a level of sophistication with applications in complex and demanding tasks, such as autonomous driving and object...

Briefs: Materials

A fish-inspired robot that can travel 26 meters through the air after takeoff could be used to collect water samples in hazardous and cluttered environments,...

Briefs: Motion Control

MIT engineers have developed a telerobotic system to help surgeons quickly and remotely treat patients experiencing a stroke or aneurysm. With a modified joystick, surgeons...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Legged robots are very promising for use in real-world applications, but their operation in narrow spaces is still challenging. One solution for enhancing their environmental...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

With a training technique commonly used to teach dogs to sit and stay, computer scientists showed a robot how to teach itself several new tricks including stacking blocks. With the...

Briefs: Motion Control

Georgia Tech researchers have shown that robots about the size of a particle of dust are capable of precise bidirectional control. By harnessing the power of a magnetic field generated...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

For many types of machinery and test equipment, there is a great need to perform basic automatic control functions, or even just sensor monitoring. Developing hardwired automation is...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Researchers have developed a robot that uses radio waves, which can pass through walls, to sense occluded objects. The robot, called RF-Grasp, combines this powerful sensing with more traditional computer vision...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Scientists develop a new approach for miniaturization of soft ultra-compact and highly integrated sensor units for directional tactile sensitivity in e-skin systems.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Most conventional 3D printing processes rely on replicating a digital design model that is sliced into layers with the layers printed and assembled upward like a cake. A new...

Briefs: Wearables

Elastic polymers, known as elastomers, can be stretched and released repeatedly and are used in applications such as gloves and heart valves, where they need to last a long time without tearing. But...

Briefs: Imaging

A Penn State-led team of interdisciplinary researchers developed a polymer with robust piezoelectric effectiveness, resulting in 60 percent more efficient electricity...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A carbon-based biosensor could drive new innovations in brain-controlled robotics.

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