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 : Test & Measurement
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 : Energy
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 : Motion Control
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 : Robotics, Automation & 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 : Aerospace
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 : Aerospace
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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
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 : Medical
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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
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
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Implementing Anti-Rotational Guidance for Stepper Motor Linear Actuators
Implementing Anti-Rotational Guidance for Stepper Motor Linear Actuators

Integrating lead screws with stepper motors is a simple and cost-effective method for getting precise linear motion. But achieving that precision requires...

Implementing Anti-Rotational Guidance for Stepper Motor Linear Actuators
Briefs : Communications
Tiny Robots Grow Bio-inspired Shapes
Tiny Robots Grow Bio-inspired Shapes

Hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes without an underlying master plan, purely based on local communication and movement. To achieve this, the biological...

Tiny Robots Grow Bio-inspired Shapes
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Artificial Joint Restores Wrist-Like Movements
Artificial Joint Restores Wrist-Like Movements

For patients missing a hand, one of the biggest challenges to regaining a high level of function is the inability to rotate one's wrist (pronate and supinate). These are essential movements...

Artificial Joint Restores Wrist-Like Movements
Briefs : Data Acquisition
Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects at the Speed of Light
Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects at the Speed of Light

Numerous devices in everyday life use computerized cameras to identify objects — think of automated teller machines that can “read” handwritten dollar amounts when...

Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects at the Speed of Light
Facility Focus : Green Design & Manufacturing
Facility Focus: Savannah River National Laboratory
Facility Focus: Savannah River National Laboratory

The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) — located in Aiken, SC — is the applied research and development laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site...

Facility Focus: Savannah River National Laboratory
On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
Extending Your Robot's Reach: Learn How to Use Linear Axis Systems to Increase the Positioning Range

The future of manufacturing and automation will focus on reducing manual operations, extending machinery ranges, increasing productivity, and reducing costs. This 30-minute Webinar offers ways to reach these goals.

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Silicon Evolution for the Automotive Revolution

The automotive landscape is rapidly changing, there are new disruptive opportunities for service revenue and design innovation, both enabled by software and advanced silicon. This new wave of computing requires a game changing combination of computing performance and functional safety integrity,...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robust VFD Solutions to Meet Industry Standards

The market for Variable Speed Drives (VFDs) is expanding, placing new demands on cables and cable performance. Because machines that utilize VFD motors are often shipped with cables from overseas manufacturers, it is critical to ensure these cables meet electrical codes and regulations to avoid...

White Papers : Automotive
Fundamentals of Building a Test System

Defining a test strategy is critical to reducing cost and maximizing the efficiency of your product development and manufacturing organizations. These guides teach the recommended process for building test systems from start to finish. Ensure you have the fundamentals to build a smarter test system that can...

White Papers : Aerospace
Selecting the Optimal Washer Solution for Assembly Applications

Washers are critical to the operation of virtually every machine or device with moving parts. They perform a variety of functions beyond securing bolts, nuts and screws, including insulating, sealing, locking and more. With what appears to be almost limitless varieties of washers...

Question of the Week : Green Design & Manufacturing
Can AI Prevent Famine?

Today's INSIDER story demonstrated how artificial intelligence models are being used to mark areas most in need of famine relief and funding. Ed Hsu from the World Bank spoke at CES last week about his collaboration with AI heavyweights Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Ricocheting Radio Waves Monitor the Tiniest Movements
Ricocheting Radio Waves Monitor the Tiniest Movements

Infrared motion detectors can cover only a limited amount of space, a person has to be within the detector's line of sight to be detected, and lights can go off when a person remains...

Ricocheting Radio Waves Monitor the Tiniest Movements
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic, 3D-Printed, Moving Structures
Magnetic, 3D-Printed, Moving Structures

Soft, 3D-printed structures have been created whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The structures that can be magnetically manipulated...

Magnetic, 3D-Printed, Moving Structures