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.

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Torque Motors

Allied Motion (Buffalo, NY) released the Megaflux MFH170i series of 170-mm (6.7-in) diameter housed brushless torque motors. The series is comprised of the 170 series brushless torque motor, a digital servo drive, and...

Manufacturers in the process industries need to adjust to smaller batches and different types of product in the same plant. Plants based on the “Lego principle”...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrochemically Enhanced Mechanical Polishing of Optics

Optical component fabrication using metals or ceramic materials involves many grinding and/or machining and polishing steps to achieve the proper form to the tolerances of imaging or photonic focusing instruments. These instruments range from infrared sensors, through visible and...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Expendable Cooling System for Venus Lander Concept

This innovation is a concept for a novel thermal architecture that would enable a day-long surface mission on Venus. A Venus lander mission could last much longer than a few hours on the surface of the planet by absorbing heat from the Venus environment, and from the electronics within the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Rapid Quench Furnace for Processing Powder in an Inert Environment

Ongoing work in the development and characterization of sensory materials requires the development of shape memory alloy (SMA) powder or particles. These are embedded in structural material so that the progression of localized damage that occurs during fatigue crack growth will...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Field Excavator with Embedded Force Measurement

The Centaur 2 (C2) platform is a compact vehicle with four independently steered and actuated wheel pods, allowing the vehicle to pivot in place and tilt in two directions. It is designed to...

Deep space missions, like the ones going to outer planets and those that rely on solar photovoltaic power, need extremely large solar arrays to produce that power for...

Existing technologies [Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) and passive Thermal Control Valve (TCV)] are integrated and made to work together to provide a passive variable thermal link. The...

MIT has been investigating techniques for amplifying movements captured by video, but indiscernible to the human eye. The algorithms can make the human pulse visible and even recover...

When robots and humans have to work together, it often leads to problems. Researchers on the CogIMon project want to teach robots to understand the forces during the movement of an...

When modern football helmets were introduced, they all but eliminated traumatic skull fractures caused by blunt force impacts. Mounting evidence, however, suggests...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Lunar Materials Handling System

A method was developed for transfer of lunar soil into and out of process equipment. The Lunar Materials Handling System (LMHS) conveys solids to a process vessel, provides a gas-tight seal, prevents seal contamination, and minimizes wear from abrasive particles. The LMHS increases equipment life and minimizes...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Two-Dimensional Dropped Sensor Suite

There are locations that are either too hazardous to land and gather data, or not practical to land. Also, data may need to be gathered from multiple (tens to hundreds) locations (sometimes at once). This...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Controlling Execution Sequence Using Tactile-Classification During Manipulation by a Humanoid Robot

It is necessary to track system state during robotic manipulation. System state is defined to be manipulator and environment configuration. Without tracking, the robot is ignorant of the outcomes of its actions. State tracking enables the robot to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Guidance Algorithm to Auto-Pilot Spacecraft in the Vicinity of Primitive Celestial Bodies

The dynamics in the vicinity of small bodies are highly nonlinear. Trajectory design in small-body environments requires accurate gravity and solar radiation pressure models to guarantee the satisfaction of spacecraft operational constraints such...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Safe Maritime Autonomous Path Planning in a High Sea State

The goal of this work was to develop algorithms and software to generate a path that takes into account the direction of waves and wind as much as possible in order to mitigate potential damage to an autonomous underwater vehicle. A risk-based path planning algorithm to analyze...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Human Grasp Assist

Repetitive manual operations can degrade the work efficiency of a human operator over time, with the cumulative stresses of repetitive motion potentially affecting the resultant product quality and/or process efficiency. Accordingly, a lightweight, motorized device has been created that a user/operator may wear on a hand and...

Kim Hambuchen is currently building user interfaces for Vakyrie, a six-foot-two, 286-pound humanoid robot. The two-legged Valkyrie...

Drones, say goodbye to pilots. With the goal of achieving autonomous flight of these aerial vehicles, researchers developed a vision and learning system to control and navigate them...

More American homes could be powered by the Earth's natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic, and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to...

Using a tablet and a red beam of light, researchers at Georgia Tech have created a system that controls a fleet of robots with the swipe of a finger. A person taps the tablet to control where the beam...

What if handheld tools knew what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the University of Bristol...

News: Semiconductors & ICs
Tiny Origami Robot Folds Itself Up

MIT researchers have developed a printable origami-inspired robot that, when heated, folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic. The robot weighs a third of a gram and measures about a centimeter from front to back.

Over the past several years, controls engineers have become adept at applying control systems to machine safety applications. The issue is that safety is a moving target....

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Thermoplastic Racks Open Up New Motion Control Applications

Rack and pinions are linear actuators that play a critical role in a wide range of linear motion control applications. While rack and pinions are commonly thought of as a timeless...

Products: Motion Control
Explosion-Proof Encoder

BEI Sensors (Goleta, CA) announced the Model LP35 explosion-proof and flameproof, low-profile, hollow shaft encoder that features a 2.01" profile and is designed to meet UL, ATEX, and IECEx standards for operation...

Products: Motion Control
Drive System Software

Festo (Hauppauge, NY) introduced PositioningDrives software for designing single-axis drive systems. Engineers input application requirements and the software details the information necessary to create a Festo...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Planetary Gearboxes

Pittman Motors (Harleysville, PA) offers the PLG24, PLG42K, PLG42S, PLG52, and PLG63 planetary gearboxes available with Pittman brush and brushless DC motors. The PLG planetary gearboxes deliver high-torque loads and are...

Products: Motion Control
Rotary Encoder

The Multi Wheel Encoder from Elma Electronic (Fremont, CA) is a miniature rotary encoder that includes an illuminated 8+1 joystick, enabling control using one finger. The encoder features Hall effect sensed incremental encoder...

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