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.

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Materials Capable of Self-Propulsion
Shape and environment can cause materials to move without motors or hands.
Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Underwater Navigation System Powered by Sound
This system enables battery-free ocean exploration with applications ranging from marine conservation to aquaculture.
This compact beam steering technology has applications in autonomous navigation, AR, and neuroscience.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
3D Structural-Sensing Robots
These robots could perform basic healthcare tasks to support the work of doctors and nurses.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Soft Robots Turn Rigid on Demand
A new type of control system may broaden robots’ range of tasks and allow safer interactions with people.
Briefs: Motion Control
Robotic Construction System
Emerging robotics technology may lead to better buildings in less time.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Torque Light-Powered Actuator
These actuators can compete with electrical and pneumatic systems.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Obstacle-Avoiding Drone Uses Live Moth Antenna
“Smellicopter” uses a live moth antenna to avoid obstacles and seek out smells.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Charging Port for Autonomous Drone Swarms
Hundreds of drones can recharge autonomously on unmanned ground vehicles.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Algorithms Improve Quadrotor Drone Performance
The algorithms enable drones to quickly switch between hover and forward flight.
Onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably, even without GPS.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
New Flexible and Highly Reliable Sensor
Real-time health monitoring and sensing abilities of robots require soft electronics, but a challenge of using such materials lies in their reliability.
These nanomaterial strain sensors are ten times more sensitive when measuring minute movements compared to existing technology.
A new method manufactures complex shapeshifters for soft robots and biomedical implants.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Aerospace
Split-Ring Torque Sensor
This optical-based device measures position, velocity, and torque.
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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Capabilities for Grasp-Assisting Gloves
Applications include aiding patients with impaired hand muscle strength and in manufacturing for operating tools for extended periods of time.
The material, commonly found in house paint, can be used in a device to more efficiently process information.
The mobile system could reduce healthcare workers’ exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Briefs: Data Acquisition
Upper Body Robotic Exoskeleton
This lightweight, portable garment is designed for active shoulder and elbow positioning.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Tethered Drones Improve Cellular and Internet Networks
Wire-connected drones may complement or replace the fixed base stations of cellular communications networks.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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.
Briefs: Unmanned Systems
Modular, In-Air, Multi-UAV Docking
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.
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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact, Long-Reach Robotic Arm
Applications include retractable covers and awnings, camera booms, and spacecraft and astronaut positioning.

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