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.

Briefs: Transportation
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Researchers have developed a self-contained wheel unit that combines a wheel and an electric motor.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
The technology can be used in commercial motors, robotic systems, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
The ESA has commissioned its industry partners to design a new docking system called the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM).
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
The algorithm speeds up the planning process that robots use to adjust their grip on objects.
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.
Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: December 2019 Motion Design
Actuators, Encoders, Gripping Tools, and More
Salty air the Dutch city of Harlingen causes exposed metal parts to corrode.
Glenn's research facilities have contributed to decades of technology advances.
Special Reports: Internet of Things
ADAS/Connected Car - December 2019

Today's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and connected cars are paving the way for tomorrow's automated vehicles. To help you keep pace with the latest technology developments, we present this...

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory took inspiration from flying insects to create a miniaturized gyroscope, a special sensor used in...

If you’ve ever tried to hold a camera steady for a long exposure in low light, you know exactly what happens: the camera shakes and the image blurs. The same can happen with images from...

White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Excellent Resistant Seal for Automotive Coolant Fluid

Conventional fluoroelastomers degrade rapidly in the presence of modern cooling fluids. New fluoroelastomers, developed by DAIKIN, has low-temperature flexibility as well as good fuel and...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Own a Robot Pet?

At the CES Unveiled kickoff event last week, Sony demonstrated Aibo, a social robotic pet. The technology, which will make the trip to CES 2020 in Las Vegas, makes dog noises, responds to commands, and uses cameras to recognize specific owners and their patterns. Take a look at Aibo on our Tech Briefs Instagram.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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: Imaging
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...

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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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: Test & Measurement
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

In recent decades, NSF-funded researchers have discovered quite a bit, including many of the fundamental particles of matter.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core

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.

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