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.

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Underwater Navigation System Powered by Sound
subscribe to newsletter
Each week get the latest tech briefs & key industry topics…delivered to your inbox!

Latest Tech Briefs

Onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably, even without GPS.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Obstacle-Avoiding Drone Uses Live Moth Antenna
“Smellicopter” uses a live moth antenna to avoid obstacles and seek out smells.
The algorithms enable drones to quickly switch between hover and forward flight.
Real-time health monitoring and sensing abilities of robots require soft electronics, but a challenge of using such materials lies in their reliability.
A stretchable system can harvest energy from human breathing and motion.
A technique enables manufacturing of minuscule robots by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Electronic Skin Sensor Decodes Human Motion
This system can track the motion of the entire body with a small sensory network.
Briefs: Motion Control
Locking Side Pull Hoist Ring
The integrated tool eliminates the need for manual operators or additional custom fixtures.
Applications include aiding patients with impaired hand muscle strength and in manufacturing for operating tools for extended periods of time.
These nanomaterial strain sensors are ten times more sensitive when measuring minute movements compared to existing technology.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
4D Printing of Morphing Structures
A new method manufactures complex shapeshifters for soft robots and biomedical implants.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Linking Materials May Transform Robots Made of Robots
A new method of linking materials with unique mechanical properties could enable robots made of robots.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Split-Ring Torque Sensor
This optical-based device measures position, velocity, and torque.
The material, commonly found in house paint, can be used in a device to more efficiently process information.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Collision Detector Mimics Locust Swarms
This detector could help robots, drones, and self-driving cars avoid collisions.
Briefs: Motion Control
High-Efficiency Megawatt Motor
This partially superconducting machine can be used as a motor or generator.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Human-Like Hands with Flexible, Hybrid Pneumatic Actuators
These hands, with a large grasping force, enable safer human-robot interactions.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Compact, Long-Reach Robotic Arm
Applications include retractable covers and awnings, camera booms, and spacecraft and astronaut positioning.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Miniature Magnetic Pump
The magnetic, multi-material pump was 3D-printed all in one piece.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multirotor Aircraft Noise Reduction
NASA's phase-locked rotors reduce noise.
Briefs: Motion Control
16-Atom Molecular Motor
The tiny motor can be powered by both thermal and electrical energy.
The mobile system could reduce healthcare workers’ exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Upper Body Robotic Exoskeleton
This lightweight, portable garment is designed for active shoulder and elbow positioning.
Wire-connected drones may complement or replace the fixed base stations of cellular communications networks.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Tactile Robot Finger with No Blind Spots
This robotic finger has a highly precise sense of touch over a complex, multi-curved surface.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Flexible, Sturdy Robot “Grows” Like a Plant
The robot’s extendable appendage can wind through tight spaces and then lift heavy loads.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Technology Aids Surgeon-Guided Robotic Hands
This method enables users to control their robotic fingers precisely enough to gently land on fragile surfaces.
This system can be used for long-range or high-payload deliveries as well as search and rescue.
A low-frequency antenna with enhanced bandwidth will enable robust networking among compact, mobile robots.

Videos