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: Motion Control
Improving Control of Two Motor Controllers

A computer program controls motors that drive translation stages in a metrology system that consists of a pair of two-axis cathetometers. This program is specific to Compumotor Gemini (or equivalent) motors and the Compumotor 6K-series (or equivalent) motor controller. Relative to the software supplied...

Briefs: Motion Control
Two-Armed, Mobile, Sensate Research Robot

The Anthropomorphic Robotic Testbed (ART) is an experimental prototype of a partly anthropomorphic, humanoid- size, mobile robot. The basic ART design concept provides for a combination of two-armed coordination, tactility, stereoscopic vision, mobility with navigation and avoidance of obstacles, and...

The Directional Acceleration Vector-Driven Displacement of Fluids (DAVDDOF) system, under development at the time of reporting the information for this article, would be a relatively...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Arc-Second Pointer for Balloon-Borne Astronomical Instrument

A control system has been designed to keep a balloon-borne scientific instrument pointed toward a celestial object within an angular error of the order of an arc second. The design...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Exhaust Nozzle for a Multitube Detonative Combustion Engine

An improved type of exhaust nozzle has been invented to help optimize the performances of multitube detonative combustion engines. The invention is applicable to both air-breathing...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Sensory-Feedback Exoskeletal Arm Controller

An electromechanical exoskeletal arm apparatus has been designed for use in controlling a remote robotic manipulator arm. The apparatus, called a “force-feedback exoskeleton arm master” (F-EAM)...

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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

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...

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...

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: Robotics, Automation & 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,...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & 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...

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...

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...

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...

Briefs: 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: Robotics, Automation & 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: Robotics, Automation & 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...

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,...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Three-Degree-of-Freedom Parallel Mechanical Linkage

Figure 1 depicts a mechanical linkage that converts rotational motion about three base joints (A, B, and C) to translational motion of an end effector (D) in three dimensions. The linkage...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & 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...

Briefs: Motion Control
Measuring Turbomachine-Blade Deflections in Two Dimensions

A report describes a method of simultaneously measuring steady-state axial and tangential turbomachine-blade deflections by use of fiber-optic probes and probe actuators designed specifically for this purpose. Each fiber-optic probe illuminates a small spot and, by measuring a change in...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ultrasonic Detector and Identifier of Land Mines

A robotic apparatus equipped with ultrasonic probes and other instrumentation has been proposed to reduce the danger and cost and increase the speed of searching for land mines. The apparatus...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Temporary Fullerene Films in Microelectromechanical Devices

In a proposed technique for fabrication of microelectromechanical devices, thin films of fullerenes would be used as temporary packaging to protect and position delicate...

A data system generates information on the position and orientation of a pointing instrument (e.g., a telescope or a laser) that could be mounted on a moving platform (e.g., an aircraft) and...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Conformably Stowable Canard

An improved secondary wing system of the canard type has been invented to improve performance and increase efficiency of airplanes capable of flight at supersonic and high subsonic speeds. Canards, including...

Adaptive variable bias control (AVBC) is an improved technique for controlling the currents supplied to the electromagnets in magnetic bearings. In AVBC, the bias currents are varied in...

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