Motion Control/​Automation

Explore the latest developments in motion control and automation. Discover innovative advances from NASA and major research labs in robotics, autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, PID controller applications, motor drives and power transmissions.

Briefs: Transportation
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Application Briefs: Motion Control
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
By the Lake, a Flying-Fish Robot Takes Off
Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Valve Position Sensor Protects Switch Boxes from Salt Environment
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Latest Briefs & News

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
WiFi-Based Technique Measures Speed and Distance of Indoor Movement
WiFi-Based Technique Measures Speed and Distance of Indoor Movement
A technology uses a combination of WiFi signals and accelerometer technology to track devices in near-real-time.
WiFi-Based Technique Measures Speed and Distance of Indoor Movement
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Biologically Inspired Artificial Skin Improves Sensory Ability of Robots
Biologically Inspired Artificial Skin Improves Sensory Ability of Robots
A synthetic skin enables robots to sense their own bodies and surroundings
Biologically Inspired Artificial Skin Improves Sensory Ability of Robots
Briefs : Aerospace
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
The technology can be used in commercial motors, robotic systems, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
Briefs : Motion Control
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
The algorithm speeds up the planning process that robots use to adjust their grip on objects.
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
INSIDER : Motion Control
Insect-Inspired Motion Sensing
Insect-Inspired Motion Sensing

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory took inspiration from flying insects to create a miniaturized gyroscope, a special sensor used in navigation...

Insect-Inspired Motion Sensing
INSIDER : Motion Control
Vibration Isolator Steadies Telescope Optics
Vibration Isolator Steadies Telescope Optics

If you’ve ever tried to hold a camera steady for a long exposure in low light, you know exactly what happens: the camera shakes and the image blurs. The same can happen with images from...

Vibration Isolator Steadies Telescope Optics
Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Own a Robot Pet?

At the CES Unveiled kickoff event last week, Sony demonstrated Aibo, a social robotic pet. The technology, which will make the trip to CES 2020 in Las Vegas, makes dog noises, responds to commands, and uses cameras to recognize specific owners and their patterns. Take a look at Aibo on our Tech Briefs Instagram.

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will Entire Planes Be Built By 'Assembler Robots?'

Commercial aircraft are typically manufactured in sections, often in different locations, and then flown to a central plant for final assembly. Researchers at MIT are hoping to change that.

Briefs : Materials
Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor
Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor

Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners, and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen....

Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Soft Robotics Perception System
Soft Robotics Perception System

A perception system for soft robots was developed that is inspired by the way humans process information about their own bodies in space and in relation to other objects and people. The system includes a...

Soft Robotics Perception System
Products : Test & Measurement
New on the Market: November 2019
New on the Market: November 2019
3D-printing platforms, simulation software, transistors, and more.
New on the Market: November 2019
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wearable Motion Sensors Measure Fetal Heartbeat

A technique was developed that could allow expectant parents to hear their baby’s heartbeat continuously at home with a non-invasive and safe device that is potentially more accurate than any fetal heartrate monitor currently available in the market.

Products : Imaging
New Products: November 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
New Products: November 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
LIDAR Systems, Smart Cameras, Optical Communications, and more.
New Products: November 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It
Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It

For decades, robots in controlled environments like assembly lines have been able to pick up the same object over and over again. More recently, breakthroughs in computer vision have enabled...

Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It
Briefs : Communications
Method Enables Robots to Exchange Directed Messages
Method Enables Robots to Exchange Directed Messages

A novel approach was developed to improve communications range and allow for covert behavior using a team of robots for future multi-domain operations. Specifically, researchers...

Method Enables Robots to Exchange Directed Messages
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight
Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight

Flying animals both power and control flight by flapping their wings. This enables small natural flyers such as insects to hover close to a flower but also to rapidly escape danger. Animal flight has...

Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots Track Moving Objects with Sub-Centimeter Accuracy
Robots Track Moving Objects with Sub-Centimeter Accuracy

A system was developed that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to help robots target moving objects with unprecedented speed and accuracy. The system could enable greater...

Robots Track Moving Objects with Sub-Centimeter Accuracy
Facility Focus : Information Technology
Facility Focus: National Science Foundation
Facility Focus: National Science Foundation
In recent decades, NSF-funded researchers have discovered quite a bit, including many of the fundamental particles of matter.
Facility Focus: National Science Foundation