Motion Control

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on motion control, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

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Briefs: Nanotechnology
A technique enables manufacturing of minuscule robots by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way.
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Briefs: Unmanned Systems
Researchers from MIT and Stanford University have devised a new machine-learning approach that could be used to control a robot, such as a drone or autonomous vehicle, more effectively and efficiently in dynamic environments where conditions can change rapidly.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Grasping objects is a problem that is easy for a human, but challenging for a robot. Researchers designed a soft, 3D-printed robotic hand that cannot independently move its fingers but can still carry out a range of complex movements.
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Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
One of the strategies to combat the mounds of waste found in oceans — especially around coral reefs — is to employ robots to master the cleanup. However, existing underwater robots are mostly bulky with rigid bodies, unable to explore and sample in complex and unstructured environments, and are noisy due to electrical motors or hydraulic pumps.
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Briefs: Motion Control
Researchers in Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have designed a system that makes an off-the-shelf quadruped robot nimble enough to walk a narrow balance beam — a feat that is likely the first of its kind.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Researchers have invented a new kind of walking robot that takes advantage of dynamic instability to navigate. By changing the flexibility of the couplings, the robot can be made to turn without the need for complex computational control systems.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The tiny motors mimic how rock climbers navigate inclines.
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Briefs: Motion Control
A catalytic reaction causes a two-dimensional, chemically coated sheet to spontaneously morph into a three-dimensional gear.
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Briefs: Imaging
Inspired by the human finger, MIT researchers have developed a robotic hand that uses high-resolution touch sensing to accurately identify an object after grasping it just one time.
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Briefs: AR/AI
Researchers from MIT’s Improbable Artificial Intelligence Lab have developed a legged robotic system that can dribble a soccer ball under the same conditions as humans.
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Briefs: Motion Control
Roboticists have been using a technique similar to origami to develop autonomous machines out of thin, flexible sheets. These lightweight robots are simpler and cheaper to make and more compact for easier storage and transport.
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Briefs: Motion Control
Achievable coils increase the capabilities of the micromotors.
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Briefs: Wearables
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.
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Briefs: Design
Ornithological animals have always benefited from folding their wings during upstroke. So, a Swedish-Swiss research team has constructed a robotic wing that can flap like a bird.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Interactive program aids motion planning for environments with obstacles.
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Briefs: Design
A Data-Driven Framework for Testing the Safety of Legged Robots
When it comes to the evolution of mobile robots, it may be a long time before legged robots are able to safely interact in the real world, according to a new study.
Briefs: Motion Control
MIT engineers have come up with an innovative approach to building deformable underwater robots, using simple repeating substructures instead of unique components.
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Briefs: Wearables
This system can track the motion of the entire body with a small sensory network.
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Briefs: Motion Control
Accomplishing motion control with digitally commanded electric motors is a responsive, precise, and energy-efficient approach suitable for a wide range of applications.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
This mechanism improves rotordynamic stability in turbomachinery.
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Briefs: Test & Measurement
Potential uses include MEMS accelerometers, vibration monitoring, and other precision motion control applications.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The software can be integrated with existing hardware to aid people using robotic prosthetics or exoskeletons.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The model allows robots to ask clarifying questions to soldiers.
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Briefs: Aerospace
The tiny device accurately measures acceleration in smaller navigation systems and other devices.
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Briefs: Aerospace
A prototype version could be demonstrated on a large cargo lunar lander.
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Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
NASA is developing the next generation of spacesuits for future missions.
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Briefs: Motion Control
Instead of adding soft materials to a rigid robot body, researchers have taken a soft body and added rigid features to key components.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Researchers produced a soft, mechanical metamaterial that can “think” about how forces are applied to it and respond via programmed reactions.
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Briefs: Motion Control
A team has installed electronic “brains” on solar-powered robots that are 100 to 250 micrometers in size so that they can walk autonomously.
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