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.

Articles : Motion Control
Smart Actuators Deliver on the Promise of Industry 4.0
Smart Actuators Deliver on the Promise of Industry 4.0

As Industry 4.0 initiatives bring more and more industrial axes of motion into the realm of automation, the need for cost-effective control across them grows as well. Advances in...

Smart Actuators Deliver on the Promise of Industry 4.0
Briefs : Automotive
Device Detects Subatomic-Scale Motion
Device Detects Subatomic-Scale Motion

It is relatively easy to measure small movements of large objects, but is much more difficult when the moving parts are on the scale of nanometers, or billionths of a meter. The ability to accurately...

Device Detects Subatomic-Scale Motion
Briefs : Motion Control
Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor
Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor

The Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor is a highly accurate sensor for motion control applications. The sensor was designed to monitor the precise movements of an optical inspection system that...

Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones
Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones

A process has been developed that enables the production of a 2-mm flat camera. The lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets, similar to the eyes of an insect. The facetVISION camera is...

Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones
Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New on the Market: December 2018
New on the Market: December 2018

Data Acquisition Devices

The USB-1808 Series simultaneous-sampling data acquisition devices from Measurement Computing Corp., Norton, MA, provides synchronous and concurrent voltage I/O, waveform...

New on the Market: December 2018
Briefs : Aerospace
Sensor Combination Detects People by Smell
Sensor Combination Detects People by Smell

Trained rescue dogs are the best disaster workers — their sensitive noses help them track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. But dogs need breaks. A new measuring device is always...

Sensor Combination Detects People by Smell
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Submarine Swims Without an Engine
Submarine Swims Without an Engine

Researchers have developed a new propulsion concept for swimming robots that exploits temperature fluctuations in the water for propulsion without the need for an engine, propellant, or power supply.

Submarine Swims Without an Engine
Blog : Test & Measurement
Q&A: After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
Q&A: After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
InSight project manager Tom Hoffman spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of digging deep in our knowledge of Mars.
Q&A: After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
What's Driving Automotive Traceability Today?

Manufacturers in the automotive industry are dealing with a variety of changes – new technologies, new automation strategies, new consumer preferences and even the advent of the driverless vehicle. As automobiles become more complex, the practice of marking and tracking works-in-progress – a...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Small IPM Gearmotors: Not for Everyone, Ideal for Many

IPM’s overwhelming advantages over AC Induction motors, DC motors, and gearmotors used with variable speed drives, in conjunction with continued OEM customer demand to reduce operating costs, will lead to significant growth in the motor topology market share.

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Producing Manufacturing Aids with HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printing

In the era of mass production and lean manufacturing, companies are looking for ways to help boost productivity and reduce unit costs while maintaining quality and repeatability. The focus is on continuously improving production techniques, accelerating the various phases within...

White Papers : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Stainless Steel Band Tie Corrosion Testing Drives Alloy Selection

Stainless steel ties are strong, corrosion resistant and durable, and increasingly used in place of welding in applications ranging from Construction, Manufacturing, Automotive and Aerospace. But with a variety of stainless steel grades, widths and lengths, the first question you...

White Papers : Motion Control
MVRC: Mark, Verify, Read and Communicate

To keep track of the works-in-progress of a single automobile, up to 20,000 parts require markings. This is just one of the difficulties of traceability – the process of marking individual parts and products and scanning them to collect data on location and status. Despite the challenges, traceability...

Blog : Imaging
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Professor Hadas Kress-Gazit tells Tech Briefs about the "great promise" of autonomous modular robots.
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
White Papers : Electronics & Computers
Hermetic Feedthroughs For Magnetic Bearing Chiller Compressors

Magnetic bearings help chiller compressors reach new levels of efficiency. These high-tech bearings, however, need extra signal connections thorugh the pressurized compressor housing. Epoxy-based hermetic feedthroughs can facilitate those signal—and power—connections without...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Imaging Innovation for Spinal Care
Imaging Innovation for Spinal Care

Motion capture (Mocap) is a technique used in the film industry to digitally track a human actor's movements and precisely transfer those motions to an animated figure. But it has other applications as...

Imaging Innovation for Spinal Care
Photonics & Imaging Technology : Motion Control
Custom Optomechanics in Industrial UV Lasers
Custom Optomechanics in Industrial UV Lasers

Reliability and longevity directly impact the cost of using Q-switched, diode pumped, solid state, ultraviolet lasers in industrial applications. Damage to the intracavity harmonic crystal is...

Custom Optomechanics in Industrial UV Lasers
Articles : Materials
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Automotive/Transportation Category Winner
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Automotive/Transportation Category Winner

ISCAD — ELECTRICAL DRIVE WITH 0% RARE EARTHS, 25% HIGHER DRIVING RANGE, AND 100% SAFETY

Conventional electrical machines suffer from the problem that...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Automotive/Transportation Category Winner
Articles : Energy
Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT
Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) applications — whether for city infrastructures, factories, or wearable devices — use large arrays of sensors collecting data for transmission over the Internet to a central,...

Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT
Articles : Automotive
2018 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section
2018 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section

The Create the Future Design Contest was launched in 2002 by Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of Tech Briefs magazine) to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. Since...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Biologically Inspired Method of Improving Systems and Survivability Through Self-Sacrifice

In human beings, the self-destruction behavior of human body cells is considered as an intrinsic safety mechanism of the human body. It seems that the lifetime of a cell is programmed, and that cells know when to commit suicide. This self-destruction is...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration
Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration

Robots that are adapted to respond to physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) traditionally treat such interactions as disturbances, and resume their original behaviors when the...

Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment

Colloids — insoluble particles or molecules anywhere from a billionth to a millionth of a meter across — are so small they can stay suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air. Robots about...

Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics/Sensors/IOT Category Winner
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics/Sensors/IOT Category Winner

FUTURE ANTENNA MINIATURIZATION MECHANISM: MAGNETOELECTRIC ANTENNAS

Hwaider Lin and Nian-Xiang Sun, Northeastern University, Boston, MA...
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics/Sensors/IOT Category Winner
Articles : Materials
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing Category Winner
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing Category Winner

DON’T MELT. MELD.™

The MELD™ technology enables additive manufacturing (AM) of metals. This patented process is unique because there is...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing Category Winner
Articles : Aerospace
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

AEROGELS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL WASTES FOR NOVEL ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS

Associate Prof. Hai Minh Duong and Prof. Nhan Phan-Thien, National University of...
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner
INSIDER : Motion Control
Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm
Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm

An unexpected source recently identified a global Martian dust storm. The source was an actuator, or motor, that powers a lid to a funnel that takes in samples of powdered Martian...

Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Benefits of Automating Medical Device Manufacturing

Medical devices are specialized and often highly engineered products that must be produced according to tight health and safety regulations while delivering an acceptable return on investment. A key strategy is to automate the production of medical devices. Industrial automation has spread to...

White Papers : Electronics & Computers
Motion System Causing You Pain?

Putting together a motion control system that meets your requirements for speed, accuracy, and flexibility can often be a challenge. Many factors play a role in the sizing and selection of each element of the system, including the actuator. Cycle time, required thrust, and life expectancy are a few of the major...

Blog : Aerospace
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Rivers Ingersoll spoke with Tech Briefs about why it is so important to have an up-close understanding of the hummingbird and nectar bat.
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots