Motion Control/​Automation

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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.

News: Communications
Cockroach Biobots Detect Sound

North Carolina State University researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

The...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rikki Razdan, Alan Kielar, Pat Stearns, and Melissa White
ISCAN Inc.
Woburn, MA

The intrinsic speed and precision of the human ocular-motor system...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Behrokh Khoshnevis
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

Contour Crafting (CC) is a computerized construction method that 3D prints large-scale structures directly...

News: Aerospace
Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic...

INSIDER: Motion Control

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have invented a 2-in-1 electric motor that increases the range of electric vehicles. The engine integrates...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

More than 60 percent of the energy generated in vehicle engines by fuel is lost through the exhaust gas and the coolant. The biggest part of this simply slips off into the environment as heat....

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Engineers at Oregon State University have developed and successfully demonstrated a simple pulley mechanism to improve hand function after surgery. The device is one of the first...

INSIDER: Aerospace

Because of the difficulty of monitoring turbine engines in operation, most manufacturers test turbine blades either after flight or rely on simulated tests to give them the...

News: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots Restore Electricity After Power Outages

A team led by Nina Mahmoudian of Michigan Technological University has developed a tabletop model of a robot team that can bring power to places that need it the most.

“If we can regain power in communication towers, then we can find the people we need to rescue,” says Mahmoudian, an assistant...

News: Imaging
Underwater Robot Skims for Port Security

MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans.

Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control

Contemporary industrial automation control systems are employing variable frequency drives (VFDs) in ever-increasing numbers. VFDs give control engineers...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Today’s PCB plug-in connectors must accommodate many trends, including increasing miniaturization, rising levels of performance of electronic components, and growing complexity in machine...

Products: Motion Control

B&R Industrial Automation Corp. (Roswell, GA) offers the 8GP70 series helical gearbox with a shaft output, and the 8GF70 series helical gearbox with a drive flange. Both feature minimal backlash and can handle high...

Products: Motion Control

The integrated I2 DC Servo Motor from Specialty Motors (Valencia, CA) is programmable to perform complex velocity and positioning movements. The all-in-one unit contains the brushless servomotor, controller, drives,...

Products: Motion Control

Lin Engineering (Morgan Hill, CA) has released the G5709 stepper motor series. This NEMA 23, 0.9-degree stepper motor was designed to output high torque while running with low resonance. The motors output high torque while...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control

Horton (Roseville, MN) has introduced the WindShiftTM WSE modular fan with a swept-blade design that generates greater static pressure at slower speeds. The fan is available in diameters of 24 to 41 inches (610 to...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control

Koford Engineering LLC (Winchester, OH) has introduced a series of 40-amp, 28-volt sensorless drives that operate up to 120,000 rpm with a 2-pole motor. The design features reliable startup and can be custom-programed for...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control

maxon precision motors (Fall River, MA) offers the EC 19 brushless DC motor available in three performance classes: the EC 19 at 60 Watts, the EC 19 at 120 Watts, and the sterilizable EC 19 at 120 Watts. The EC 19 at 60 W is...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control

Physik Instrumente (PI, Auburn, MA) has introduced two vacuum-compatible versions of the N-470 PiezoMike screw-type actuators. Providing a positional resolution of 20 nanometers and travel ranges between ¼ inch and 1 inch, the...

Products: Motion Control

SCHUNK (Morrisville, NC) has combined a linear motor drive with a pre-loaded roller guide for its ELB linear axis. The module is able to position high loads with accuracy of 0.01 mm. The maximum acceleration is...

Products: Motion Control

The TMK Series rotary torque motors from ETEL (Schaumburg, IL) feature an electro-magnetic design that utilizes buried magnet technology along with field weakening, enabling it to rotate with speeds of up to nine times greater...

Products: Motion Control

KOMA Precision (Windsor, CT) offers a line of extra-large center bore, dual-disc hydraulic clamping rotary tables from Tsudakoma that feature a proprietary dual lead worm gear system with cross roller bearings. Three new models...

Products: Motion Control

Manncorp (Huntingdon Valley, PA) offers the 2004D Series of multi-purpose dispensing solutions that combine 3-axis robots with integrated digital dispense controllers for SMT assembly tasks. Point-to-point, linear, or...

Products: Motion Control

Beckhoff (Savage, MN) has introduced the EL7211 servo terminal that operates with the EtherCAT I/O system to provide a compact servo drive with an output current of up to 4.5 ARMS integrated into a 24-mm-wide...

Products: Motion Control

The UXX ironless motor from Tecnotion (Almelo, The Netherlands) features no cogging and zero attraction force between the coil unit and the magnets. It is designed for heavy-duty industrial applications requiring high...

News: Automotive
3D Printer That Could Build a Home in 24 Hours Wins Global Design Competition

New York, NY – Contour Crafting, a computerized construction method that rapidly 3D prints large-scale structures directly from architectural CAD models, has been awarded the grand prize of $20,000 in the 2014 "Create the Future" Design Contest.

Contour...

News: Transportation
'Cloaking' Device Uses Ordinary Lenses to Hide Objects

Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways to hide objects from view. The latest effort, begun at the University of Rochester, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but also uses inexpensive, readily...

News: Materials
Robotic Fabric Moves and Contracts

Researchers are developing a robotic, sensor-embedded fabric that moves and contracts. Such an elastic technology could enable a new class of soft robots, stretchable garments, "g-suits" for pilots or astronauts to counteract acceleration effects, and lightweight, versatile robots to roam alien landscapes...

News: Photonics/Optics
Researchers Equip Robot with Novel Tactile Sensor

Researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port.

The sensor is an adaptation of a technology called GelSight, which was developed by the lab of Edward Adelson,...

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