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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
Methodology for Optimizing Designs of Rotating Turbine Disks

A methodology for optimizing the fundamental structural designs of rotating turbine disks has been developed to aid in preliminary evaluations of various gas-turbine-engine designs. The basis for this methodology is a combination of turbine-disk and low-cycle-fatigue methodologies that...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rib Valve as Shutter for Air Swirler in Combustor Nozzle

A rib valve is under consideration for use as a shutter in an air swirler in the fuel nozzle of a variable-geometry combustor. In the original application, the variable-geometry combustor would be part of an engine in the High-Speed Civil Transport. In this application, the rib...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Walking Robot for Internal Inspection of Thin-Wall Ducts

A walking robot connected to external instrumentation via a tether has been proposed to enable visual inspections, retrieval of loose objects, and some repairs inside thin-wall round ducts. The ducts in question are made of sections about 4 ft (1.2 m) long, joined by flexible seals that...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Biomorphic Explorers

"Biomorphic explorers" are a class of proposed small robots that would be equipped with microsensors and would feature animallike adaptability and mobility. These robots would capture key features, a specific design or function found in nature, taking advantage of general animal mechanical designs and neural functions that...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Doped ZnTe: a Developmental Photorefractive Material

Zinc telluride is a semiconductive material that has been found to become photorefractive when it is suitably doped with vanadium or with manganese and vanadium. The combination of photorefractivity and semiconductivity make this material attractive for use in a variety of applications,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Snakelike Robots Would Maneuver in Tight Spaces

Robots with multiple-link arms that could reach through narrow openings into hidden cavities are undergoing development. Called "multifunction dexterous boro-robots" (MDBRs), these robots would resemble snakes (see Figure 1), in both general appearance and in the slithering motion with which they...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Wavy Blades for Secondary Centrifugal Blood-Pump Impeller

The rectangular-cross-section blades of a centrifugal secondary impeller in a ventricular-assist blood pump would be replaced with blades of wavy cross section, according to a proposal. As explained below, the resulting modification in the flow pattern would reduce the tendency toward...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Jewellike Bearings for Blood Pumps

Jewellike bearings have been devised to enhance the performance and safety of small rotary pumps that are used to increase or sustain flows of blood in cardiac patients. A pump of this type includes a spinning impeller in an axial- or radial-flow configuration. The impeller shaft is supported at its ends by...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Lightweight "Beach-Ball" Robotic Vehicles

Lightweight, inflatable robotic vehicles (rovers) that superficially resemble beach balls and that could be driven by wind and/or electric power are undergoing development. These rovers were conceived for carrying scientific instruments across rocky terrain on Mars, and are intended to move faster,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Simulations in Support of Towed Flight Demonstration

The Eclipse flight project was established to demonstrate a reusable-launch-vehicle concept developed by Kelly Space and Technology, Inc. An F-106 delta-wing aircraft was chosen as the towed vehicle, and a C-141A transport-type airplane was selected for the towing vehicle. These airplanes are...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Side-Bore Sample-Acquisition Mechanism

The figure illustrates various aspects of a proposed mechanism that would be mounted in an instrumented penetrator dart for use in acquiring a sample of soil. In operation, the dart would be dropped from a height to make it penetrate the ground to a suitable depth, then the mechanism would be...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Microscopic Heat Exchangers, Valves, Pumps, and Flowmeters

Microscopic forced-flow heat-transfer systems containing heat exchangers, flow channels, electrostatically driven peristaltic pumps, and related components have been proposed. These systems would be made largely of silicon, by use of micromachining processes similar or identical to...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Procedure for Designing Safe Robots

A methodology for designing robots provides for satisfying both safety and performance requirements. Heretofore, most robot-design efforts have been focussed on maximizing performance, with only incidental regard for safety, under the assumption that humans and delicate equipment would be excluded from robot...

Motion Control Technology : Motion Control
Navigation and Control of Continuous Mining Systems

Research conducted at the Pittsburgh Research Center (formerly U.S. Bureau of Mines) developed technology that will allow computer-assisted operation of mechanized equipment normally used in underground room-and-pillar coal mining, while permitting workers to be located away from the hazardous...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Improved Hybrid System Protects Airfoils Against Icing

An improved hybrid thermal/mechanical system has been developed to protect airplane wings and other airfoils against the accretion of ice, which degrades aerodynamic performance. The system is designed with particular attention to advanced, high-performance airfoils, which exhibit...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Evaluation of a "Smart" Aircraft Control Actuator

An aircraft control actuator that incorporates self-contained control electronics has been installed in the F-18 Systems Research Aircraft and evaluated in flight tests. This "smart" actuator is a prototype of fly-by-wire servoactuators for future advanced aircraft.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electromagnetic Shaker for Flight Flutter Testing

An electromagnetic shaker based on a linear induction motor has been developed for use in flight flutter testing of aircraft. The shaker is a wing-tip-mounted unit capable of delivering root-mean-square forces as large as 140 lb (623 N) at frequencies from 10 to 60 Hz.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Micromachined Monopropellant Thrusters

A report proposes monopropellant microthrusters for a new generation of miniature spacecraft with mission lifetimes stretching into years. These thrusters would include micromachined nozzle/chamber assemblies containing microvalves, designed according to emerging concepts of microelectromechanical systems...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Making Fuels Onboard for Power Bursts in Exploratory Robots

In-situ resource utilization (ISRU) equipment would be incorporated into remotely controlled exploratory robots, according to a proposal, to generate fuels and oxidizers to extend operational ranges and to provide occasional bursts of power for actions like drilling into the ground,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Solar-Powered Aerobots With Power-Surge Capabilities

Advanced aerobots that would be powered by solar photovoltaic batteries and that would be capable of storing energy for occasional operation during short intervals at power levels far beyond those of the photovoltaic batteries have been proposed. Aerobots are robotic balloon-buoyed airborne...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Development of Small, Mobile, Special-Purpose Robots

A report presents a scenario for the proposed development of insectlike robots that would be equipped with microsensors and/or micromanipulators, and would be designed, variously, to crawl, burrow, swim, fly, or hop, to perform specific tasks in fields as diverse as exploration,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Adaptive Performance Optimization of Transport Aircraft

Adaptive performance optimization (APO) is an approach for improving aircraft performance without the need for extensive modifications of hardware. In this approach, one exploits existing redundant control-effector capabilities by providing for automatic reconfiguration of control-surface...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Using a Jet Pump To Alter the Inlet Swirl of a Turbopump

An analysis of empirical data on low-frequency oscillations in the inlet flow of a turbopump has led to the conclusion that these oscillations could be reduced or eliminated with suitable design of a jet pump to alter the inlet swirl. The oscillations in question are of fluid-dynamic...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Manipulator System for a Robotic Vehicle

A prototype manipulator system that includes two different arms has been tentatively selected for use on a semiautonomous robotic vehicle called Rocky 7 (see figure). [A previous version of this vehicle with a single manipulator arm was described in "High-Performance Robotic Vehicle" (NPO-19921) NASA Tech...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
All-Terrain Vehicle With Self-Righting and Pose Control

A small prototype robotic all-terrain vehicle features a unique drive and suspension system that affords capabilities for self righting, pose control, and enhanced maneuverability for passing over obstacles. The vehicle is designed for exploration of planets and asteroids, and could just...

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