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
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,...

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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & 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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & 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...

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: 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: Robotics, Automation & 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,...

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: Robotics, Automation & 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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Alternative One-Time-Opening Miniature Isolation Valve

The figure depicts a proposed miniature, electrically actuated, one-time-opening isolation valve that would be made mostly of silicon, by use of micromachining techniques. Isolation...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Insectile and Vermiform Exploratory Robots

A six-legged robot resembling an insect and a legless segmented robot resembling a worm (see figure) have been proposed as prototypes of biomorphic explorers  small, mobile, exploratory robots...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Better Densification of Cryogenic Liquid Rocket Propellants

An improved system for densifying (by cooling) the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen used as propellants for the space shuttle has been proposed. These propellant liquids are...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Force-Reflecting, Finger-Position-Sensing Mechanism

An electromechanical device called the "Dexterous Master" (DM) is an exoskeletal mechanism that is worn on a human operator's hand for (1) measuring the positions and orientations of the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Device Assists Actuation of a Joint in a Pressure Suit

An electromechanical device implements a unique method of actuating a fabric joint in an inflatable structure  in particular, the joint in an astronaut's pressure suit. The method is...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Modifications of the Ventricular Assist Device

A report discusses some modifications of the ventricular assist device (VAD), which was described in "Small Implantable Pump Would Assist Circulation of Blood" (MSC-22424), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 20, No. 7 (July 1996), page 86. The VAD is a surgically implantable, miniature rotary pump designed to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Model X-33 Subscale Flight Research Program

A program of flight testing of an instrumented subscale model of the X-33 aerospace vehicle is underway. The objectives of this program are the following:

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Gimbaled Injectors for Testing Spacecraft Thrusters

A report proposes an assembly of gimbaled valve/nozzle subassemblies for use in injecting either a propellant fluid (e.g., monomethyl hydrazine) or a propellant-simulating fluid (e.g., water) into the combustion chamber of a spacecraft thruster during hot-fire or cold testing, respectively. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Air-Purification System Utilizing Humidity Swings

A regenerable, low-power air-purification system has been proposed for (1) removing toxic gases from solid-waste-incinerator exhaust and/or (2) removing trace contaminants from breathable...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Precise Closed-Loop Temperature-Control System

A control system that includes a single thermal source has been designed to afford precise control of the temperature of a fluid flowing in a closed-loop system. Similar control systems could make it possible to increase production levels and to reduce risks in industrial situations in which...

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