Motion Control

Motors & Drives

Browse the innovative developments in motors and drives technologies. Access the technical briefs and applications that are trending in variable-frequency drives, AC motor-based drive systems, direct drive solutions, and servo motors.

Briefs: Motion Control
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Application Briefs: Motion Control
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Valve Position Sensor Protects Switch Boxes from Salt Environment
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Latest Briefs & News

Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
Briefs : Motion 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
Articles : Semiconductors & ICs
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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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
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 : 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
Articles : Propulsion
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
Briefs : Motion Control
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials

Conventional pistons are made of a rigid chamber and a piston inside that can slide along the chamber’s inner wall while at the same time maintaining a tight seal. As a result, the piston...

New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings

There is great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying...

Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design

Miniature Linear Translation Stages

PI, L.P. (Auburn, MA) offers the L-505 miniature linear translation stages for precision motion, alignment, and positioning applications where space is...

New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
Articles : Motion Control
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection

Stepper motors and stepper-based linear actuators are often selected for open-loop motion control devices and equipment. These can be found in a wide range of products and...

Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
INSIDER : Motion Control
Tiny “Walking” Motor Made with Five Parts
Tiny “Walking” Motor Made with Five Parts

A new approach developed at MIT to building robots is based on a set of five millimeter-scale components, all of which can be attached to each other by a standard connector. Using this simple kit...

Tiny “Walking” Motor Made with Five Parts
INSIDER : Motion Control
MEMS Accelerometer Begins with Multi-Layer Metal Structures
MEMS Accelerometer Begins with Multi-Layer Metal Structures

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...

MEMS Accelerometer Begins with Multi-Layer Metal Structures
Products : Motion Control
New Products: June 2019 Motion Design
New Products: June 2019 Motion Design

Rotary Ball Spline

NB Corporation of America (Hanover Park, IL) released a rotary ball spline that can be used for both rotational and linear motion. Applications include SCARA robots, the...

New Products: June 2019 Motion Design
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Briefs : Aerospace
Gear Bearings
Gear Bearings

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed gear bearing technology that combines gear and bearing functions into a single unit that significantly improves gear drives for electrical, internal combustion, and turbine motors. The...

Gear Bearings
Briefs : Aerospace
Double-Fed Induction Linear Alternator

This technology was developed to address the limitations of traditional, single-fed linear alternators that require permanent magnets, adhesive bonding organics, and heavy iron laminations for flux control. They experience eddy-current losses and require electromagnetic interference protection. Furthermore,...

Briefs : Motion Control
Improved Directed Flux Motor

Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight,...

Briefs : Energy
Rotary Electrical Contact
Rotary Electrical Contact

Researchers have developed a fundamentally new type of rotary electrical contact that addresses the two limitations of conventional brush/slip ring technology: 1) short operating lifetime due to sliding-contact...

Rotary Electrical Contact
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls
A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls

Doctoral Programs student Ayato Kanada came up with his leech-like robot in a place you’d least expect it: His bathroom.

A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls
Blog : Electronics & Computers
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Three new unmanned helicopters were unveiled at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Products : Test & Measurement
New on the Market: May 2019
New on the Market: May 2019

Position Sensors

Novotechnik, U.S., Southborough, MA, introduced Vert-X 2900 Series sensors that measure angular position and are available in single or redundant versions. Users can specify...

New on the Market: May 2019
Briefs : Propulsion
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes

Mechanical systems such as engines and motors rely on two principal types of motions of stiff components: linear motion, which involves an object moving from one point to another in a straight...

Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes