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.

Blog : Test & Measurement
Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To
Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To

While robots like the WildCat from Boston Dynamics reach speeds of just under 20 miles an hour, engineers from Georgia Tech have gone with a decidedly slower approach.

Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To
White Papers : Motion Control
Shaping the Future of Service Robotics

Robots emerged in the early 1960s as a way to automate the monotonous and dangerous tasks in factories around the world. As time passed and new technologies emerged, these robots have taken a place outside of the industrial market and alongside humans in manufacturing and non-manufacturing applications...

Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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 : Materials
Snake-Inspired Robot
Snake-Inspired Robot

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

Snake-Inspired Robot
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring
Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring

In discussing fatigue life, it is important to distinguish between disc springs and conical spring washers, as they differ by design and intended usage. Conical spring washers are...

Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion

Employing fluid power to achieve mechanical motion can be implemented via hydraulics using uncompressible liquids or via pneumatics using compressible gasses; typically, air. The latter provides several...

Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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 : Motion Control
Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation
Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation

A new learning system improves a robot’s ability to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a...

Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation
Articles : Motion Control
Vision Sensors in Factory Automation
Vision Sensors in Factory Automation

There are a number of ways to extract data from a production line. In factory automation, sensors are used in work cells to gather data for inspection or to trigger other devices. These sensors fall into...

Vision Sensors in Factory Automation
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
Application Briefs : Motion Control
Cross-Training Made Possible by Common Control Platform
Cross-Training Made Possible by Common Control Platform

EMAG L.L.C. is the U.S. subsidiary of a major German machine tool builder that specializes in machine tools for the production of automotive, off-highway, agricultural, and oil field...

Cross-Training Made Possible by Common Control Platform
Application Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair

For wheelchair users, the feeling of uneven ground can seem all too familiar. Determined to make ride discomfort a thing of the past, Israel-based SoftWheel has completely reinvented the wheel for a...

Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Smart, Soft, Back Orthosis Uses Real-Time Motion Detection

Back pain is inevitable with constrained posture over a number of hours. Permanent damage such as premature spine wear is not uncommon in people who do not adopt proper ergonomic posture. The same applies to those who frequently lift heavy objects.

Briefs : Power
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 : Motion Control
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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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
Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New on the Market: June 2019
New on the Market: June 2019

Code Generator

dSPACE, Wixom, MI, offers Version 4.4 of TargetLink code generator software that features controller modeling with MATLAB® code from MathWorks. It describes algorithms and...

New on the Market: June 2019
Briefs : Design
Safety Analysis: The Key to a Single-Pass ISO26262 Random Fault Workflow
Safety Analysis: The Key to a Single-Pass ISO26262 Random Fault Workflow

Advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous drive technologies increase the complexity of automotive integrated circuits (ICs), making it harder to ensure that...

Safety Analysis: The Key to a Single-Pass ISO26262 Random Fault Workflow
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Key Factors to Consider When Designing a Smart Factory
Key Factors to Consider When Designing a Smart Factory

In recent years, the emergence of Industry 4.0 has been steadily transforming the manufacturing sector into an ultra-high-tech industry. Innovative smart technologies such as robotics,...

Key Factors to Consider When Designing a Smart Factory
Q&A : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Q&A: 3D-Printed Hydrogel Blocks Can Aid Robotics and Diagnostics

Ian Y. Wong, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Engineering, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology at Brown University in Providence, RI. He and colleagues have developed a new type of hydrogel blocks that can be assembled like LEGO®s.

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Stretchable, Rubbery Semiconductors
Stretchable, Rubbery Semiconductors

Researchers have created stretchable, rubbery semiconductors including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits, and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials. The semiconductors have...

Stretchable, Rubbery Semiconductors
INSIDER : Motion Control
Changing How Sound Moves Particles
Changing How Sound Moves Particles

Researchers at Aalto University have discovered a surprising phenomenon that changes how we think about how sound can move particles. Their experiment is based on an experiment in which particles move on a...

Changing How Sound Moves Particles
INSIDER : Motion Control
“Knitting” Soft Actuators
“Knitting” Soft Actuators

Carnegie Mellon University researchers used computationally controlled knitting machines to create knitted objects that are actuated by tendons. The objects emerge from the knitting machines in their desired...

“Knitting” Soft Actuators
White Papers : Nanotechnology
Precise Satellite Positioning to the Nearest Micron

OHB Systems AG is constructing a new hyperspectral satellite called EnMAP for terrestrial monitoring. Five mirrors, six prisms and three cameras are being mounted in an exceedingly compact space—with frequently only fractions of a millimeter between the components. Any contact between these...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Driving an Automotive Revolution

Today’s automotive sector is increasingly consumer driven, so companies must adapt to keep up with the faster pace of demand for product innovation. This includes vehicles with complex contours, which increases both the cost and complexity of design and manufacture. Learn how Renishaw is transforming automotive...

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
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
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Driving Change in the Age of Electric Vehicles

In the 21st century, electric vehicles will be king. Gasoline prices, energy security concerns and environmental awareness are the converging forces driving behavior change at the policy, regulatory and consumer level toward EVs. Manufacturers worldwide have accelerated the production of electric...

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Hummingbird Robots Help with Search-and-Rescue?

Purdue University researchers have created small flying robots that act like hummingbirds. Artificial intelligence, combined with flexible flapping wings, allows the robo-bird to teach itself new tricks.

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Use a Robot to Help with Household Tasks?

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have built Blue, a low-cost robot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and deep reinforcement learning to master human tasks like folding laundry or making coffee.

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Want a Magnetized Medical Robot? Just 3D Print It
Want a Magnetized Medical Robot? Just 3D Print It
A microrobot can take up to 8 hours to make. With the help of a 3D printer, University of Toronto engineers got the process down to 20 minutes
Want a Magnetized Medical Robot? Just 3D Print It