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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Pumping Liquid Oxygen by Use of Pulsed Magnetic Fields

An effort is underway to develop a method of pumping small amounts of liquid oxygen by use of pulsed magnetic fields. This development is motivated by a desire to reduce corrosion and hazards of explosion and combustion by eliminating all moving pump parts in contact with the pumped...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Software Architecture for Semiautonomous Robot Control

A software architecture has been developed to increase the safety and effectiveness with which tasks are performed by robots that are capable of functioning autonomously but sometimes are operated under control by humans. The control system of such a robot designed according to a prior...

Briefs: Motion Control
Compact Plasma Accelerator

A plasma accelerator has been conceived for both material-processing and spacecraft-propulsion applications. This accelerator generates and accelerates ions within a very small volume. Because of its compactness,...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Improved Electrohydraulic Linear Actuators

A product line of improved electrohydraulic linear actuators has been developed. These actuators are designed especially for use in actuating valves in rocket-engine test facilities. They are also...

Modifications have been proposed to effect further improvement of the device described in “Improved Piezo- electrically Actuated Microvalve” (NPO-30158), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol....

A proposed normally-closed microvalve would contain a piezoelectric bending actuator instead of a piezoelectric linear actuator like that of the microvalve described in the preceding...

Designers of deep submersibles are reluctant to use conventional shafts and seals to penetrate the hulls of deep submersible, pressure vessels fearing seal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Safer Roadside Crash Walls Would Limit Deceleration

The figure depicts the aspects of a proposed deceleration-limiting design for crash walls at the sides of racetracks and highways. The proposal is intended to overcome the dis- advantages...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Continuous Tuning and Calibration of Vibratory Gyroscopes

A method of control and operation of an inertial reference unit (IRU) based on vibratory gyroscopes provides for continuously repeated cycles of tuning and calibration. The method is intended especially for application to an IRU containing vibratory gyroscopes that are integral parts of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Bearingless Switched-Reluctance Motor

The Morrison rotor, named after its inventor, is a hybrid rotor for use in a bearingless switched-reluctance electric motor. The motor is characterized as bearingless in the sense that it does...

The designers and manufacturers of fuel cells are continually striving to improve the efficiency of their products. A design challenge facing the engineer relates to...

The first step of pattern matching always includes a learning process. A “gold” master is used to create a template. This template is used for identification purposes on all...

Articles: Motion Control
Force/Torque Sensor Systems

Force/Torque (F/T) sensors are critical components of robotic applications in electrical and mechanical assembly, product testing, material handling, and many other applications. A sensor system helps robots...

Energy savings is one of the key ingredients in reducing costs for any manufacturing operation. A simple, but very effective, way to save energy is by making fans run more...

Standard induction motors, normally designed to run at base speeds between 850 to 3500 rpm, are not particularly well suited for low-speed operation, as their...

An improved method has been devised for the computational prediction of a collision between (1) a robotic manipulator and (2) another part of the robot or an external object in the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Small, Untethered, Mobile Robots for Inspecting Gas Pipes

Small, untethered mobile robots denoted gas-pipe explorers (GPEXs) have been proposed for inspecting the interiors of pipes used in the local distribution natural gas. The United States has network of gas- distribution pipes with a total length of approximately 109 m. These...

A proposed inchworm actuator, to be designed and fabricated according to the principles of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), would effect linear motion characterized by steps as...

A proposed method of processing the outputs of multiple gyroscopes to increase the accuracy of rate (that is, angular- velocity) readings has been developed theoretically and...

The torque-limited touchdown bearing system (TLTBS) is a backup mechanical- bearing system for a high-speed rotary machine in which the rotor shaft is supported by magnetic bearings in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flux-Based Deadbeat Control of Induction-Motor Torque

An improved method and prior methods of deadbeat direct torque control involve the use of pulse-width modulation (PWM) of applied voltages. The prior methods are based on the use of...

A precision piezoelectric positioning system with high-bandwidth and high-power enables a new class of precision machining called Vibration Assisted Machining. The actuator and...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Improved Multiple-DOF SAW Piezoelectric Motors

Surface-acoustic-wave (SAW) piezoelectric motors of a proposed type would be capable of operating in multiple degrees of freedom (DOFs) simultaneously and would be amenable to integration into...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
System for Centering a Turbofan in a Nacelle During Tests

A feedback position-control system has been developed for maintaining the concentricity of a turbofan with respect to a nacelle during acoustic and flow tests in a wind tunnel. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Lightweight, Self-Deployable Wheels

Ultra-lightweight, self-deployable wheels made of polymer foams have been demonstrated. These wheels are an addition to the roster of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) structural applications. Intended originally for use on nanorovers (very small planetary-exploration robotic vehicles), CHEM wheels could...

Briefs: Motion Control
Hopping Robot With Wheels

A small prototype mobile robot is capable of (1) hopping to move rapidly or avoid obstacles and then (2) moving relatively slowly and precisely on the ground by use of wheels in the manner of previously reported exploratory robots of the "rover" type. This robot is a descendant of a more primitive hopping robot...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Grease-Resistant O Rings for Joints in Solid Rocket Motors

There is a continuing effort to develop improved O rings for sealing joints in solid-fuel rocket motors. Following an approach based on the lessons learned in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, investigators have been seeking O-ring materials that exhibit adequate resilience...

A strategy for autonomous navigation of a robotic vehicle across hazardous terrain involves the use of a measure of traversability of terrain within a fuzzy-logic conceptual...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Temperature Switched-Reluctance Electric Motor

An eight-pole radial magnetic bearing has been modified into a switched-reluctance electric motor capable of operating at a speed as high as 8,000 rpm at a temperature as high as 1,000 °F...

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