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.

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Enhancing Autonomous Vehicle Interior Design with Proven Access Solutions

As drivers begin to transition to autonomous vehicles, automotive designers must create functional interior spaces that not only provide comfort, but also build trust and alleviate passenger fear. Download our Autonomous Vehicle Interiors Industry Report to learn how...

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Your design idea could win you $20,000.
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
The wearable is fireproof, thanks to a carbon aerogel nanocomposite material.
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
Collaborative Robotics: Safely Connecting Man and Machine

It used to be that manufacturing robots were kept in cages, programmed by specialists, and often used only for a single task. Today collaborative robots are being used by manufacturers to automate tedious and dangerous jobs, while improving productivity. These robots, which can work alone...

White Papers : Motion Control
Virtual Commissioning with a Model-Driven Digital Twin

The manufacturing and automation industry is highly-evolving and competitive. As demands on product requirements increase, the inherent design risks can pose significant problems, threatening the success and reputation of those trying to keep pace. The technique of virtual commissioning (VC)...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Thinking Outside the Cabinet: What Does Motor-Integrated Automation Technology Have to Do with Your Business ROI?

Thinking cabinet-free is nothing new. We’ve always been able to eliminate some parts from the cabinet and integrate them into the machine. If you are thinking of redesigning your machine or designing a new machine, this article is...

Briefs : Transportation
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller

Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a method for controlling precise motion of a brushless DC (BLDC) motor using relatively inexpensive components. Precision motors are usually quite expensive and inefficient when operating at slow speeds. Current motors are only capable of operating at...

Products : Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: March 2019
New on the Market: March 2019

Controller and Datalogger

Watlow, St. Louis, MO, introduced a batch processing feature for the F4T temperature and process controller and D4T datalogger. The new feature helps collect manufacturing part...

New on the Market: March 2019
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Products of Tomorrow: March 2019
Products of Tomorrow: March 2019

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Products of Tomorrow: March 2019
Briefs : IoMT
Computer-Controlled Exercise Equipment

While a wide variety of computer-controlled exercise machines for training and rehabilitation exist — some of which can be automatically adjusted to vary resistance or incline — such systems provide for preprogrammed changes in load or resistance. What is needed is a system that overcomes the...

Technology Leaders : Electronics & Computers
The Heat Is On: A Guide to Specifying Insulation Materials
The Heat Is On: A Guide to Specifying Insulation Materials

One of the first things an electrical engineer will learn is that the number-one enemy of designing and manufacturing any electrical/electronic product is heat. It's the one...

The Heat Is On: A Guide to Specifying Insulation Materials
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Building Blocks for a Practical Wireless Sensor System
Building Blocks for a Practical Wireless Sensor System

We recently interviewed Justin Bessette, Manager, Wireless Systems and Software Engineering at LORD Corporation, Micro-Strain® Sensing Systems, about the nuts and bolts of a wireless...

Building Blocks for a Practical Wireless Sensor System
Products : Test & Measurement
New Products: March 2019 Sensor Technology
New Products: March 2019 Sensor Technology

Torque Measurement System

To address the demand for a more accurate, reliable, customizable, and easy-to-use force measurement device, Interface Force Measurement Systems (Scottsdale, AZ)...

New Products: March 2019 Sensor Technology
Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Create the Future Design Contest Alumni Achieve Market Success
Create the Future Design Contest Alumni Achieve Market Success

The Create the Future Design Contest, launched in 2002 by the publishers of Tech Briefs magazine, helps stimulate and reward engineering innovation. The annual event has...

Create the Future Design Contest Alumni Achieve Market Success
5 Ws : Data Acquisition
5 Ws of 3D-Printing Piezoelectric Materials
5 Ws of 3D-Printing Piezoelectric Materials

Who

Piezoelectric materials are used in everything from cellphones and wearables, to robotics, energy harvesting, and tactile sensors.

5 Ws of 3D-Printing Piezoelectric Materials
Blog : Software
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
With self-driving vehicles poised to take the road, how can today’s engineers prepare themselves to support an autonomous future?
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
White Papers : Design
Substrate Mastered Scale on a CMM

The thermal behavior of encoder scale is an important consideration when selecting any encoder system. Renishaw's scales are effectively either thermally independent of the substrate (floating) or thermally dependent on the substrate (mastered); depending on the scale thickness / material and mounting method....

Briefs : Software
Speedy Motor Modeling
Speedy Motor Modeling

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have created open source software that scales up analysis of motor designs to run on the fastest computers available.

Speedy Motor Modeling
Briefs : Motion Control
Walking Robot Moves Without GPS
Walking Robot Moves Without GPS

Ants are able to use polarized light and ultraviolet radiation to locate themselves in space. AntBot mimics this ability to explore its environment randomly and go home automatically, without GPS or...

Walking Robot Moves Without GPS
Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Will ‘Developable Mechanisms’ Solve Complex Tasks?

Brigham Young University engineers have created "developable mechanisms" that they hope to use in components like surgical instruments, adjustable airplane wings, robotic arms, or vehicle cylinders. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV, to see how the flat shapes can be converted into 3D...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
SAE J3061 and ISO 26262? They’re Made for Each Other

Embedded systems in cars are increasingly complex and connected, and the inherent security implications are not explicitly addressed by ISO 26262. SAE J3061 addresses that security deficiency, complementing the functional safety focus of ISO 26262.

White Papers : Automotive
Peltier 'Affects' Autonomous Vehicle Design

Coined the “PELTIER EFFECT” after its discoverer, Jean Charles Athanase Peltier, thermoelectric cooling has been utilized in marketable products for decades. Such products have a history of being used in “new” applications. In the 1970s, thermoelectric elements were cooling components in NASA...

Blog : Photonics/Optics
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
Even a shape-morphing plane is possible, says Harvard's Ehsan Hajiesmaili.
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
On-Demand Webinars : Automotive
Automated and Connected Commercial Vehicles: Next Steps for ‘Hands-Off’ Operation

Demonstrations of increasingly connected and automated heavy vehicles on public highways and bustling worksites are becoming more commonplace, as the commercial vehicle industry continues to pursue improved fuel efficiency and operator productivity while...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Designing Self-Propelled, Chemically Active Sheets
Designing Self-Propelled, Chemically Active Sheets

Researchers have created a two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet that moves autonomously in a reactant-filled fluid. The integrated system utilizes a chemical reaction to activate the fluid...

Designing Self-Propelled, Chemically Active Sheets
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro-Robot Climbs on Vertical and Upside-Down Conductive Surfaces
Micro-Robot Climbs on Vertical and Upside-Down Conductive Surfaces

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Micro-Robot Climbs on Vertical and Upside-Down Conductive Surfaces
Briefs : Software
Foot Pedal Controller
Foot Pedal Controller

A novel foot-pedal-operated system and device were developed to control translational and rotational movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The Foot Pedal Controller system enables operators to control...

Foot Pedal Controller
Products : Electronics & Computers
New Products: February 2019 Motion Design
New Products: February 2019 Motion Design

Motor Control Integrated Circuit

Microsemi Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology (Aliso Viejo, CA), announced the LX7720 radiation-tolerant motor control integrated...

New Products: February 2019 Motion Design
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Connector Technologies: From Aerospace to Racecars to Robots
Advanced Connector Technologies: From Aerospace to Racecars to Robots

Different types of motion encountered in dynamic environments require designers to specify connectors for boards, wiring, and devices that can meet significant g-forces,...

Advanced Connector Technologies: From Aerospace to Racecars to Robots
Application Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robots Bring Airplane Production Up to Speed
Robots Bring Airplane Production Up to Speed

Robots are helping a European airplane manufacturer cut into an eight-year backlog of orders for one of its most popular aircraft.

Robots Bring Airplane Production Up to Speed