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.

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mini Rover Pedals Out of Trouble

The next generation of exploration rovers will need to be good at climbing hills covered with loose material and avoiding entrapment on soft granular surfaces. Built with wheeled appendages that can be...

New software sets the stage for A.I.-enabled robotic prostheses that predict user terrain and initiate mechanical changes accordingly.
White Papers: Motion Control
Compact, Smooth, Repeatable Accuracy: NSK Motorized Ball Screw Actuator

NSK’s MBSA series combines a precision-ground ball screw with an ultra-accurate stepping motor. It’s the ideal integrated solution for medical devices and laboratory...

White Papers: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Easy and Profitable Measurement Solutions Using Smart Laser Triangulation Sensors

For fast measurements of displacement, distance and position with high accuracy and resolution, laser triangulation sensors can be used in a variety of...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Soft Robots Reach Cheetah-Like Speeds?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a proof-of-concept robot that moves at almost 3 body lengths a second.

A proof-of-concept soft robot has a cheetah-like gait that avoids the usual crawl.
The technique could be used to improve navigation for robots, drones, or pedestrians.
Xilinx is now applying AI to the in-cabin environment.
This instrument has applications in medical equipment, robotics, and satellites.

The last thing you probably do when a fly buzzes toward you is marvel at its graceful wing and body kinematics. But that’s exactly what researchers at Cornell University’s Itai Cohen Group...

On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
Collaborative Robots: Are They as Safe as They Sound?

Collaborative robots are the fastest growing segment in industrial robotics – for good reason. They’re flexible, easy to program, and when compared to their “older generation” industrial counterparts, far safer and less expensive, as well as faster to deploy. But those who use...

By taking a closer look at the delta deposits on Mars, Stanford University researchers concluded that the Jezero Crater is still the best place to search for signs of life on Mars.
On-Demand Webinars: Motion Control
Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

For years the difference between brushless servos and step motors was understood. That has all been blurred with servo vector control of step motors and the growing popularity of smart motors. Understanding these technologies is key to selecting the best product for specific...

White Papers: Motion Control
The Medical Device Maker's Guide to Customizing Linear Motion

Medical device manufacturing is challenging. Linear motion components are vital parts of the process, but off-the-shelf components often don't work or fit, or fail to perform....

Question of the Week: Transportation
Will 'Metal-Air Scavengers' Power Vehicles and Robots?

Penn Engineering researchers have introduced a "metal-air scavenger" vehicle, which gets energy not from a battery, but from breaking chemical bonds in the aluminum surface it travels over. The technology, which works like both a battery and an energy harvester, has 13 times more energy...

White Papers: Motion Control
Noise and Signal Distortion Considerations for Encoders in Motion Control Applications

An encoder is an electro-mechanical transducer that converts mechanical rotary motion into digital signals for the control of machinery. Encoders are used...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Practical Guide to Programmable Logic Controllers

The Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) has revolutionized the automation industry. Today, PLCs can be found in everything from factory equipment to vending machines, but prior to January 1,...

In just three weeks, the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) at UC Berkeley built a robotic COVID-19 laboratory.

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Foldable Robots for Future Moon Mission

The newest edition of NASA's small, foldable robots successfully traversed rugged terrain in the Mars Yard at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Robots are in high demand as medical professionals seek hands-free ways to disinfect environments and contain the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19.

This technology could help control driverless cars and automated warehouses.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Square Structural Joint with Robotic Assembly Tool
Square trusses replace round for enhanced strength and robotics compatibility.
This technology cancels out the vibrations of a satellite by vibrating the solar panels in the opposite direction.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mechanical Controller for Robot-Assisted Surgery

Robot-assisted surgery has advanced dramatically over the past decade in almost every surgical sub-specialty. Robot-assisted surgery is usually performed using surgical robot systems that...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Resolution, Accuracy, and Precision of Encoders
Here's what you'll need to know when you’re choosing an encoder for a motion control system.
As advancements in technology continue to define how pneumatic or electromechanical linear devices lift, move, or place a load, the requirements of excellent closed-loop positioning and accuracy greatly increase
The domino effect is used to design deployable systems that expand quickly with a small push and are stable and locked into place after deployment.
Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Reimagining Robotics in a Connected World
Manufacturers are beginning to realize the same benefits by cloud-connecting their equipment and processes on the shop floor.
Products: Photonics/Optics
New Products: April 2020 Motion Design
Motor drivers, position sensors, offset couplings, and more.

Videos