Robotics, Automation & Control

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

A new low-cost imaging system could make it easier to track mosquito species that carry disease, enabling a more timely and targeted response.
Sensors in the hand can actually detect forces being transmitted through the thickness of the robot.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Automates Blood Drawing and Testing
The device provides quick results and gives healthcare workers more time to treat patients in hospitals and other settings.
An automated system cuts the energy required for training and running neural networks.
A fleet of “roboats” could transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.
By observing humans, robots learn to perform complex tasks such as setting a table.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Soft Hardware for More Flexible Robots
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.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Small, Precise, Affordable Gyroscope Navigates Without GPS
An inexpensive gyroscope could help drones and autonomous cars stay on track without a GPS signal.
Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Radiation-Hardened Gain Digitizer
This instrument has applications in medical equipment, robotics, and satellites.
The technique could be used to improve navigation for robots, drones, or pedestrians.
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.
This technology could help control driverless cars and automated warehouses.
Square trusses replace round for enhanced strength and robotics compatibility.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
PLCs Directly Access Internet Information
The newest PLCs can directly access Internet resources, much like a mobile device, to obtain information for improving operations.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Reliability Radio Frequency MEMS Switch
Applications include homeland security, vehicle anti-collision systems, telecommunications systems, and industrial instrumentation.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Soft, Flexible Materials with Enhanced Properties
These materials can be used in soft robotics, self-healing electronics, and medical devices.
The new arm design enables unmanned aerial vehicles to fly in windy conditions.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Trunk Support Assists Those with Spinal Cord Injury
The device retrains patients with spinal cord injury to sit more stably and gain an expanded active sitting workspace.
This technology could impact new directions in robotics design.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Multimaterial Fiber “Ink” for 3D-Printed Devices
Filaments with embedded circuitry can be used to print complex shapes for biomedical and robotic devices.
Such grippers would be suited for human-robot partnership in assembly lines in the automotive, electronic packaging, and other industries.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Circulating Liquid Stores Energy and Provides Power
This robot “blood” stores energy, transmits force, operates appendages, and provides structure, all in an integrated design.
The flat structure morphs into another shape when temperature changes, enabling self-deploying tents or adaptive robotic fins.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Shape-Shifting Robot Uses New Locomotion Strategy
The robot is built entirely from smaller robots and can form a robophysical system that can move by itself.
These soft robots can be rolled up and carried in a pocket.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robots Assemble Large Structures from Little Pieces
Systems of tiny robots could build high-performance structures, from airplanes to space settlements.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Intelligent Microrobots
Such machines, only a few tens of micrometers across, could be used in the human body to perform small operations.

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