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.

Question of the Week: Aerospace
Will Entire Planes Be Built By 'Assembler Robots?'

Commercial aircraft are typically manufactured in sections, often in different locations, and then flown to a central plant for final assembly. Researchers at MIT are hoping to change that.

White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Practical Guide to Pneumatics plus a FREE Slide Chart

A Guide for users who wish to advance their pneumatic knowledge with topics such as circuit symbols, component capability, integrating pneumatics with controls, and improving pneumatic...

White Papers: Automotive
White Paper: Why Electromechanical Actuators are Increasingly Replacing Hydraulic Actuators

Hydraulic actuation has traditionally provided much of the muscle for the industrial revolution, but that functionality has come with a cost....

Special Reports: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotics & Machine Vision - November 2019

Advances in robotics and machine vision are transforming the factory floor. To help you keep pace with the latest developments in industrial automation, we present this compendium of recent articles...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor

Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners, and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen....

Briefs: Motion Control
Soft Robotics Perception System

A perception system for soft robots was developed that is inspired by the way humans process information about their own bodies in space and in relation to other objects and people. The system includes a...

Products: Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: November 2019
3D-printing platforms, simulation software, transistors, and more.
Briefs: Motion Control
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.

LIDAR Systems, Smart Cameras, Optical Communications, and more.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It

For decades, robots in controlled environments like assembly lines have been able to pick up the same object over and over again. More recently, breakthroughs in computer vision have enabled...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Method Enables Robots to Exchange Directed Messages

A novel approach was developed to improve communications range and allow for covert behavior using a team of robots for future multi-domain operations. Specifically, researchers...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight

Flying animals both power and control flight by flapping their wings. This enables small natural flyers such as insects to hover close to a flower but also to rapidly escape danger. Animal flight has...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots Track Moving Objects with Sub-Centimeter Accuracy

A system was developed that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to help robots target moving objects with unprecedented speed and accuracy. The system could enable greater...

Facility Focus: Nanotechnology
Facility Focus: National Science Foundation
In recent decades, NSF-funded researchers have discovered quite a bit, including many of the fundamental particles of matter.

Researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material. The fibers consist of a gallium metal core...

A team of inventors found a fast way to join plastic to metal.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Smart Electronic Skin for Robots and Prosthetics

Humans use the sense of touch to accomplish almost every daily task such as picking up a cup of coffee or shaking someone’s hand. Without it, humans can even lose their sense of balance when walking. Similarly, robots need to have a sense of touch in order to interact better with humans but...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces

Researchers have developed a formula that enables them to recreate different levels of perceived softness. Based on the results from their experiments, they created equations that can calculate how...

UCLA engineers have made major improvements on their design of an optical neural network — a device inspired by how the human brain works — that can identify objects or process...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects

MIT researchers have compiled a dataset that captures the detailed behavior of a robotic system physically pushing hundreds of different objects. Using the dataset, robots “learn” pushing...

A minimal, map-less approach to drone navigation takes after the bee.
White Papers: Automotive
Finding the Right Approach: How to Test a Vehicle’s ECU

Modern vehicles can contain over 100 ECUs controlling everything from the drivetrain to the ADAS systems. Each ECU needs to be tested individually as well as in conjunction with other...

White Papers: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Specialized Sensors Perform in Extreme Environments

Demand for sensors that can operate in extreme conditions is increasing, in response to an overall industry trend toward additional product performance testing and monitoring. It takes an...

On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
The Importance of Signal Routing to Maximize Automated Test System Performance and Reliability

When designing an automated test system, an important but often overlooked task is the development of a signal routing subsystem that connects the test instrumentation and switching elements to the device under test. Implementing a signal...

Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
Military Robotics

While drones are relatively new additions to the military's stable of high-tech robotic systems, ground-based robots have been in use for more than a decade. From detecting, defusing, and disposing of explosives to working side-by-side with soldiers in the field, robots have found a myriad of applications within the...

A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Validate Autonomous VTOL Safety

Prepared for Takeoff? When market share is up for grabs, virtual VTOL testing is the only way to fly. ANSYS offers the industry’s most complete simulation solution for accelerating autonomous aircraft...

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