Motion Control/​Automation

Motion Control

Browse innovative developments in motion control technologies. Find essential news, technical briefs and applications used in PID controllers, servo motors, direct drive solutions, autonomous positioning, and motion-related components.

Latest Briefs & News

Briefs : Wearables
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.

Blog : Motion Control
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
News : Motion Control
Superluminal Jets and Time Reversibility

Astrophysicists Jon Hakkila of the College of Charleston and Robert Nemiroff of the Michigan Technological University have published research indicating that blasts that create gamma-ray bursts may actually exceed the speed of light in surrounding gas clouds, but do so without violating Einstein's theory...

NASA Spinoff : Motion Control
Ringing of a Newborn Black Hole

If Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity holds true, then a black hole, born from the cosmically quaking collisions of two massive black holes, should itself "ring" in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverberates sound waves. Einstein predicted that the particular...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps

A set of five tiny fundamental parts can be assembled into a wide variety of functional devices including a tiny “walking” motor that can move back and forth across a surface or...

Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics

3D printers that build small parts layer by layer from melted plastic can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized piece. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of...

High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Neural Lander Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

Landing multi-rotor drones smoothly is difficult. Complex turbulence is created by the airflow from each rotor bouncing off the ground during a descent. This turbulence is not well understood nor is it easy to compensate for, particularly for autonomous drones. That is why takeoff and landing are...

Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
The characteristics of hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
Articles : Electronics & Computers
How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals
How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals

In the digital age, the measurement of rotation of a mechanical shaft on a motor or a rotating instrument knob needs to be done quickly and efficiently....

How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals
Briefs : Motion Control
Smartphone App Programs Robots
Smartphone App Programs Robots

A smartphone app was developed that allows a user to easily program any robot to perform a mundane activity such as picking up parts from one area and delivering them to another. The app, called VRa, uses...

Smartphone App Programs Robots
Articles : Semiconductors & ICs
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
While most cars today run on 12-volt DC batteries, cars in the future will run on 48 volts. This increased voltage could affect ball bearing performance.
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer

A high-sensitivity and low-noise MEMS accelerometer was developed using multi-layer metal structures composed of multiple metal layers. The accelerometer achieves 1 μG level resolution that has...

High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
Products : Electronics & Computers
New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
New Products: October 2019 Motion Design

Brushless Servo Motor

maxon precision motors (Taunton, MA) released the EC-i30 20W brushless servomotor with integrated electronics. With an integrated 4-quadrant speed controller, the motor...

New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Stretchable Pump
Miniature Stretchable Pump

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over rigid robots: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects, and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber, or other stretchable polymers,...

Miniature Stretchable Pump
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts

An automated system designs and 3D-prints complex robotic parts that are optimized according to an enormous number of specifications. The system fabricates actuators — devices that mechanically...

Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs
Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs

Toposens, Sunnyvale, CA, released the TS3, a 3D ultrasonic sensor suitable for autonomous systems including robotics, autonomous vehicles, and other positioning applications that require...

Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Antenna Near-Field Probe Station Scanner

Antenna characterization techniques are often expensive and time-consuming. NASA’s Glenn Research Center developed a highly versatile and automated system to perform characterization of single or multiple small circuit antennas, printed on-wafer or on other substrates, by measuring the antenna’s...

Briefs : Motion Control
Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning
Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning

The Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) features a modular open systems architecture that enables the robot to be self-righting after a fall. The self-righting...

Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning
Application Briefs : Data Acquisition
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
There is increasing demand in many high-end commercial and industrial markets for precision motion sensing for a diversity of applications.
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
Articles : Motion Control
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
We interviewed an industry expert about the role of inductive position sensors in the IIoT.
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
Products : Photonics/Optics
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Micromachining Subsystem

SCANLAB GmbH (Puchheim, Germany) has introduced a new member of its precSYS product line. Five-axis precSYS subsystems enable industrial...

New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Berkeley Lab technology could reduce time needed to declare buildings affected by earthquakes safe and sound.
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts