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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Microrobot Powered by Soft Muscles
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Latest Briefs & News

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Collaborative Automation: It's More Than Just the Cobot

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control

The Role of Sensors in the Evolution of Robotics

Briefs : Wearables
Wireless Sensor “Stickers” Track Physiological Signals
Wireless Sensor “Stickers” Track Physiological Signals
These stickers wirelessly beam health readings to a receiver clipped onto clothing.
Wireless Sensor “Stickers” Track Physiological Signals
Briefs : Propulsion
Power System for Hybrid Heavy-Duty Trucks
Power System for Hybrid Heavy-Duty Trucks
Electric motors and gas-alcohol engines could slash pollution levels and greenhouse gases from long-haul trucks.
Power System for Hybrid Heavy-Duty Trucks
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Helping Autonomous Vehicles See Around Corners
Helping Autonomous Vehicles See Around Corners
A system senses tiny changes in shadows on the ground to determine if there’s a moving object coming around the corner.
Helping Autonomous Vehicles See Around Corners
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
How to Fix Satellites — With Satellites
How to Fix Satellites — With Satellites
If a satellite breaks in orbit, there's not much that can be done. A professor envisions a new idea for refueling and repair.
How to Fix Satellites — With Satellites
Blog : Materials
Countdown: The Top Stories of 2019
Countdown: The Top Stories of 2019

Tech Briefs in 2019 celebrated historic NASA anniversaries, new ways to power electronics, and innovative hacks of our “smartest” technologies.

Countdown: The Top Stories of 2019
INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Intelligent Microrobot Moves Without A Visible Force

Researchers developed a microrobot that measures a few micrometers across and resembles a paper bird made with origami. It flaps its wings or bends its neck and retracts its head via magnetism. The movements take place within milliseconds; programming of the nanomagnets only takes a few...

On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
Collaborative Robot Applications in the Automotive Industry

Smaller, easier to program, quick to implement, and typically one-third the cost of industrial bots, collaborative robots are more than being noticed in the industry. Recently a global director of manufacturing engineering integration at a major automotive OEM was quoted as saying...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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 : Automotive
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Researchers have developed a self-contained wheel unit that combines a wheel and an electric motor.
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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
Application Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
The ESA has commissioned its industry partners to design a new docking system called the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM).
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & 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
Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: December 2019 Motion Design
New Products: December 2019 Motion Design
Actuators, Encoders, Gripping Tools, and More
New Products: December 2019 Motion Design
Application Briefs : Materials
Valve Position Sensor Protects Switch Boxes from Salt Environment
Valve Position Sensor Protects Switch Boxes from Salt Environment
Salty air the Dutch city of Harlingen causes exposed metal parts to corrode.
Valve Position Sensor Protects Switch Boxes from Salt Environment
Facility Focus : Communications
Facility Focus: NASA John H. Glenn Research Center
Facility Focus: NASA John H. Glenn Research Center
Glenn's research facilities have contributed to decades of technology advances.
Facility Focus: NASA John H. Glenn Research Center
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