Motion Control

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

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Position Sensor Integral With a Linear Actuator
Position Sensor Integral With a Linear Actuator

A noncontact position sensor has been designed for use with a specific two-dimensional linear electromagnetic actuator. To minimize the bulk and weight added by the sensor, the sensor has been...

Position Sensor Integral With a Linear Actuator
Briefs : Motion Control
Improved Electromagnetic Brake
Improved Electromagnetic Brake

A proposed design for an electromagnetic brake would increase the reliability while reducing the number of parts and the weight, relative to a prior commercially available electromagnetic brake. The reductions...

Improved Electromagnetic Brake
Briefs : Motion Control
Active Suppression of Instabilities in Engine Combustors
Active Suppression of Instabilities in Engine Combustors

A method of feedback control has been proposed as a means of suppressing thermo-acoustic instabilities in a liquid- fueled combustor of a type used in an aircraft engine. The basic...

Active Suppression of Instabilities in Engine Combustors
Briefs : Motion Control
Magnetocaloric Pumping of Liquid Oxygen

As noted in the previous article, the field-induced force density on a magnetic fluid is proportional to the magnetic susceptibility times the gradient of the magnetic field squared. The direction of the force is towards increasing magnetic field (positive gradient). Applying a magnetic field to a magnetic...

Briefs : Motion Control
Pumping Liquid Oxygen by Use of Pulsed Magnetic Fields

An effort is underway to develop a method of pumping small amounts of liquid oxygen by use of pulsed magnetic fields. This development is motivated by a desire to reduce corrosion and hazards of explosion and combustion by eliminating all moving pump parts in contact with the pumped...

Briefs : Motion Control
A Software Architecture for Semiautonomous Robot Control

A software architecture has been developed to increase the safety and effectiveness with which tasks are performed by robots that are capable of functioning autonomously but sometimes are operated under control by humans. The control system of such a robot designed according to a prior...

Briefs : Motion Control
Compact Plasma Accelerator

A plasma accelerator has been conceived for both material-processing and spacecraft-propulsion applications. This accelerator generates and accelerates ions within a very small volume. Because of its compactness, this accelerator could be nearly ideal for primary or station-keeping propulsion for spacecraft having...

Briefs : Motion Control
Improved Electrohydraulic Linear Actuators

A product line of improved electrohydraulic linear actuators has been developed. These actuators are designed especially for use in actuating valves in rocket-engine test facilities. They are also adaptable to many industrial uses, such as steam turbines, process control valves, dampers, motion control,...

Briefs : Motion Control
Brushless DC Rotary Motor Improves Efficiencyin Fuel Cell Applications

The designers and manufacturers of fuel cells are continually striving to improve the efficiency of their products. A design challenge facing the engineer relates to reducing the power demands of the many electrical systems that support fuel cell operation. Blowers,...

Briefs : Motion Control
Improved Multiple-DOF SAW Piezoelectric Motors

Surface-acoustic-wave (SAW) piezoelectric motors of a proposed type would be capable of operating in multiple degrees of freedom (DOFs) simultaneously and would be amenable to integration into diverse structures and mechanisms. These motors would be compact and structurally simple and would not...

Briefs : Motion Control
System for Centering a Turbofan in a Nacelle During Tests

A feedback position-control system has been developed for maintaining the concentricity of a turbofan with respect to a nacelle during acoustic and flow tests in a wind tunnel. The system is needed for the following reasons:

Motion Control Technology : Motion Control
Lightweight, Self-Deployable Wheels

Ultra-lightweight, self-deployable wheels made of polymer foams have been demonstrated. These wheels are an addition to the roster of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) structural applications. Intended originally for use on nanorovers (very small planetary-exploration robotic vehicles), CHEM wheels could...

Briefs : Motion Control
Hopping Robot With Wheels

A small prototype mobile robot is capable of (1) hopping to move rapidly or avoid obstacles and then (2) moving relatively slowly and precisely on the ground by use of wheels in the manner of previously reported exploratory robots of the "rover" type. This robot is a descendant of a more primitive hopping robot...

Briefs : Motion Control
Grease-Resistant O Rings for Joints in Solid Rocket Motors

There is a continuing effort to develop improved O rings for sealing joints in solid-fuel rocket motors. Following an approach based on the lessons learned in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, investigators have been seeking O-ring materials that exhibit adequate resilience...

Briefs : Motion Control
Fail-Safe Electromagnetic Motor Brakes

Fail-safe electromagnetic motor brakes are undergoing development for use in joints of robot arms. The brakes are needed for both static holding and emergency stopping. In the present context, "fail-safe" signifies that a brake disengages (that is, allows motion) when electric power to the brake is turned...

Briefs : Motion Control
Releasable Conical Roller Clutch for Knee Brace

A compact conical roller clutch can be either (1) engaged to obtain both positive locking against rotation in one sense and freewheeling in the opposite sense or (2) disengaged to obtain free rotation in both senses. This clutch was devised to enhance the functionality and increase the durability...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mesoscopic Winch for Precise Extension and Retraction

A proposed lightweight, micromachined winch would have microscopic structural details and mesoscopic overall dimensions and would be capable of generating bidirectional macro- scopic motion (maximum cable extension or retraction ≈1 m) with submicron increments. Winches like this one could...

Briefs : Motion Control
Further Advances in Cooperative Transport by Mobile Robots

Hardware and decentralized-control algorithms have been developed during continued research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and functional requirements for systems of multiple mobile robots cooperating in the performance of tightly coupled tasks — for example, grasping...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Electrohydrodynamic Conduction Pumps

Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) conduction pumps have been investigated in theoretical and experimental studies. In general, EHD pumps contain no moving parts. They generate pressure gradients and/or flows in dielectric liquids via any of a variety of interactions between (1) applied electric fields and (2) free...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advances in Cooperative Transport by Two Mobile Robots

Special gimbal mechanisms and algorithms that implement decentralized compliant control have been developed for use in research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and functional requirements for systems of multiple mobile robots cooperating in site-clearance and construction...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetostrictive Motor and Circuits for Robotic Applications

A magnetostrictive motor and its drive circuit and control system have been designed to be especially suitable for robotic applications in which there are requirements for precise, high-force linear actuators. The motor includes a laminated armature made of the magnetostrictive alloy...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithm Computes Kinematics of a Rover on Rocky Terrain

The Rover Analysis Modeling and Simulation (ROAMS) algorithm is to solve the kinematics of a wheeled mo- bile robot (rover) traversing on a rocky terrain. The rover is constructed using a “rocker-bogey-differential” type suspension and steering system as shown in the figure. By...

Briefs : Motion Control
Software for Simultaneous Control of Three Magnetic Bearings

Five-Axis, Three-Magnetic-Bearing Control Code (FATMaCC) is a C++-language computer program for controlling a magnetic thrust bearing in one degree of freedom and two magnetic radial bearings, each in two degrees of freedom. These bearings levitate a vertical-axis rotor for experiments...

Briefs : Motion Control
Crowned Races for Crossed Roller Bearings

Crowned races have been proposed for crossed roller bearings. Crowning of the races is expected to reduce scuffing of the cylindrical rollers. Crowning of the races is expected to be especially beneficial in bearings made of polymers (instead of metals) to reduce weight.

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Array of Switches for Fiber-Optic Communications

A rectangular array of Y-junction electro-optical switches has been proposed as a prototype of reliable, high-speed cross-point switches for fiber-optic-based photonic communication systems. The proposed array would feature a hybrid digital/interference design. The proposed array would...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Surface-Launched Explorers for Reconnaissance/Scouting

Small, instrumented, expendable robotic aircraft and projectiles have been proposed for use in scouting for targeted new sites by providing closeup images with ~10-cm resolution, covering large distances ~1 to 10 km quickly and allowing reconnaissance to enable sample return. Denoted...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Firmware for a Small Motion- Control Processor

A C-language computer program implemented as firmware controls the operations of a microprocessor on a 3-by- 1-inch (approximately 76-by-25-mm) motion-control circuit board denoted a widget board. The firmware implements a serial communication interface according to the inter integrated circuit bus...

Briefs : Motion Control
Gear Bearings and Gear-Bearing Transmissions

Gear bearings are conceptual mechanical components so named because they function as gears and as roller and/or thrust bearings. Gear bearings will be essential components of the next generation of compact, large-mechanical- advantage gear drives.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Linear Dynamometer With Variable Stroke and Frequency

An improved linear dynamometer has been developed for testing linear alternators that are to be used to convert mechanical power to electrical power in free-piston Stirlingcycle engines. Both the frequency and the length of the stroke of this dynamometer can be varied continuously, even...

Briefs : Motion Control
Compact, Stiff, Lightweight, Quick-Release Clamp

The term "COSMOWRAP" denotes a compact, stiff, remotely actuatable, lightweight, quick-release clamp that could be substituted for the larger, heavier, and more-difficult-to-use toggle-action clamp now used in the space shuttle orbiter docking system (ODS) to perform contingency separations. In...

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Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

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Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...

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Connectivity Solutions for Robust Data Transmission in Future...

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Transforming the Grid: New Technologies for the Transmission and...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Military Robotics