Motion Control

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

The ultra-light robotic insect can be folded or crushed, yet continues to move.
This technique can be used by people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.
The robots could fly silently for covert operations and stay steady through turbulence.
This material could be used for artificial muscles that power bio-inspired robots.
Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range.
This approach could be used to cost-effectively make soft robots and wearable technologies.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gripper Handles Freely Moving Cables
The gripper’s soft, sensitive fingers could enable robots to help with tying knots, wire shaping, or surgical suturing.
Inspired by a coral polyp, this plastic mini robot moves by magnetism and light.
Complex locomotion techniques enable the rover to climb hills covered with soft granular material.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Flexible Feet Help Robots Walk Faster
This technology can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid-Filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper
Applications include absorbers, tuned mass dampers, harmonic absorbers, and seismic dampers.
Briefs: Motion Control
4D Printing of Morphing Structures
A new method manufactures complex shapeshifters for soft robots and biomedical implants.
Briefs: Transportation
Bio-Inspired Propulsion
Frequencies and passive dynamics of vehicles moving in air or water help enhance propulsion performance.
A fleet of “roboats” could transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.
Briefs: Unmanned Systems
Navigation Measurement Software
This program provides a relative navigation capability for spacecraft, remotely operated terrestrial vehicles, and machine vision.
Combined muscles and sensors made from soft materials allow for adaptable robots.
This type of energy source could be the basis for robots that seek out and “eat” metal, breaking down its chemical bonds for energy like humans do with food.
By observing humans, robots learn to perform complex tasks such as setting a table.
Briefs: Motion Control
Solenoid Valve Health Monitor

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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Algorithm Helps Swarming Robots Avoid Collisions
This technology could help control driverless cars and automated warehouses.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mechanical Controller for Robot-Assisted Surgery

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.

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