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: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robot Automates Blood Drawing and Testing
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Latest Briefs & News

On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
Collaborative Robotics: Sharing the Workspace

Manufacturing robots were kept in cages previously, programmed by specialists, and often used for a single task. Today’s collaborative robots are being used by manufacturers to automate...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Watch: The Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch

Watch below as the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter make their way to Mars. NASA pros will offer their expertise throughout the day.

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Human-Like Hands with Flexible, Hybrid Actuators

In industrial settings, robots often are used for tasks that require repetitive grasping and manipulation of objects. A humanoid hand design that is a soft-hard hybrid flexible gripper can...

INSIDER: Motion Control
Self-Latching Piezocomposite Actuator

NASA Langley has developed a self-latching piezocomposite actuator with power-off, set-and-hold capability. If integrated into an aerodynamic control surface or engine inlet, deflections could be...

Mars 2020 NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other NASA experts offer a briefing on this week's launch of the Perseverance rover.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Watch: NASA's Mars 2020 Sample Return Briefing

Watch below as NASA experts review how they plan to return samples from the surface of Mars back to Earth.

In the past 24 months, there has been increased skepticism regarding the ability of the automotive industry to deliver fully functional Level 3...

Can NASA "joystick" the landing of the next Mars rover? A Tech Briefs reader asks our NASA expert.
We plug in our headphones everyday. Now a robot can perform the task.
On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
The Path to High-Level Autonomy for Commercial Vehicles

Automated-driving technology experts continue to project commercial vehicles as the most promising early adoption sector for high-level automation. But ever-evolving technology...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will ‘Roboats’ Catch On?

Our July issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a fleet of “roboats” that could someday transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.

The Roboat autonomous robotic boats — rectangular hulls equipped with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, GPS modules, cameras, and other...

A tiny underwater robot may someday filter out water contaminants by catching them with its tentacles.
The Mars rover Perseverance has a helicopter. Will the rover have to carry it around?
Ben Jennet is a PhD student at MIT and a former space research fellow at NASA. He is working with NASA to develop a new kind of aircraft wing that's flexible and changes mid-flight.
Briefs: Transportation
Bio-Inspired Propulsion
Frequencies and passive dynamics of vehicles moving in air or water help enhance propulsion performance.
Articles: Lighting
Optical In-Line VCSEL Testing
In-line testing of certain LEDs, using nanosecond pulses, will become more and more relevant with time-of-flight applications.
A new low-cost imaging system could make it easier to track mosquito species that carry disease, enabling a more timely and targeted response.
An automated system cuts the energy required for training and running neural networks.
NIBIB is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care.
INSIDER: Motion Control
Smallest Motor in the World

The smallest motor in the world — consisting of just 16 atoms – measures less than one nanometer or about 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The rotor rotates on the surface of the...

A reader asks NASA experts: How much hardware from the Curiosity rover is being used on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover?
On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars 2020: The Legacy Continues for NASA Space Robotics

Scheduled for launch in the summer of 2020, the latest NASA rover will continue the legacy of its predecessors – Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity – by taking the next step in space robotics. With innovative instruments, new science goals, and improved technologies,...

A new metal-air scavenger works like a battery, in that it provides power by repeatedly breaking and forming a series of chemical bonds. But it also works like a harvester,...

White Papers: Medical
Challenges in Designing and Manufacturing Sensors for Robotic Surgery

The design and manufacture of a haptic feedback sensor for a robotic surgery platform entails two distinct but complementary aspects: overcoming technical obstacles of...

White Papers: Propulsion
Recoma®HT: Rare Earth Magnets for High Temperatures

Arnold Magnetic Technologies has developed Samarium Cobalt magnets for a wide range of applications. The RECOMA®HT grade magnets were developed specifically for applications operating at...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Don’t Blame it on the Bearings
New measurement methodologies can save you time that would otherwise be wasted on returning and reordering bearing.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Navigation Measurement Software
This program provides a relative navigation capability for spacecraft, remotely operated terrestrial vehicles, and machine vision.
Taking a holistic approach to sealing systems in hydraulic systems using chrome alternatives helps engineers achieve optimum function.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Soft Hardware for More Flexible Robots
Combined muscles and sensors made from soft materials allow for adaptable robots.

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