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: Motion Control
Linear Back-Drive Differentials

Linear back-drive differentials have been proposed as alternatives to conventional gear differentials for applications in which there is only limited rotational motion (e.g., oscillation). The finite nature...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Fail-Safe Electromagnetic Motor Brakes

Fail-safe electromagnetic motor brakes are undergoing development for use in joints of robot arms. The brakes are needed for both static holding and emergency stopping. In the present context,...

A compact conical roller clutch can be either (1) engaged to obtain both positive locking against rotation in one sense and freewheeling in the opposite sense or (2) disengaged to obtain free...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Three-Degree-of-Freedom Parallel Mechanical Linkage

Figure 1 depicts a mechanical linkage that converts rotational motion about three base joints (A, B, and C) to translational motion of an end effector (D) in three dimensions. The linkage...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mesoscopic Winch for Precise Extension and Retraction

A proposed lightweight, micromachined winch would have microscopic structural details and mesoscopic overall dimensions and would be capable of generating bidirectional macro- scopic...

Hardware and decentralized-control algorithms have been developed during continued research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and functional requirements for systems of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Electrohydrodynamic Conduction Pumps

Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) conduction pumps have been investigated in theoretical and experimental studies. In general, EHD pumps contain no moving parts. They generate pressure gradients and/or flows in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advances in Cooperative Transport by Two Mobile Robots

Special gimbal mechanisms and algorithms that implement decentralized compliant control have been developed for use in research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetostrictive Motor and Circuits for Robotic Applications

A magnetostrictive motor and its drive circuit and control system have been designed to be especially suitable for robotic applications in which there are requirements for precise, high-force linear actuators. The motor includes a laminated armature made of the magnetostrictive alloy...

The Rover Analysis Modeling and Simulation (ROAMS) algorithm is to solve the kinematics of a wheeled mo- bile robot (rover) traversing on a rocky terrain. The rover is constructed...

Briefs: Motion Control
Software for Simultaneous Control of Three Magnetic Bearings

Five-Axis, Three-Magnetic-Bearing Control Code (FATMaCC) is a C++-language computer program for controlling a magnetic thrust bearing in one degree of freedom and two magnetic radial bearings, each in two degrees of freedom. These bearings levitate a vertical-axis rotor for experiments...

Crowned races have been proposed for crossed roller bearings. Crowning of the races is expected to reduce scuffing of the cylindrical rollers. Crowning of the races is expected to be especially...

A rectangular array of Y-junction electro-optical switches has been proposed as a prototype of reliable, high-speed cross-point switches for fiber-optic-based photonic communication...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Surface-Launched Explorers for Reconnaissance/Scouting

Small, instrumented, expendable robotic aircraft and projectiles have been proposed for use in scouting for targeted new sites by providing closeup images with ~10-cm resolution,...

Briefs: Software
Firmware for a Small Motion- Control Processor

A C-language computer program implemented as firmware controls the operations of a microprocessor on a 3-by- 1-inch (approximately 76-by-25-mm) motion-control circuit board denoted a widget board. The firmware implements a serial communication interface according to the inter integrated circuit bus...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gear Bearings and Gear-Bearing Transmissions

Gear bearings are conceptual mechanical components so named because they function as gears and as roller and/or thrust bearings. Gear bearings will be essential components of the next generation...

An improved linear dynamometer has been developed for testing linear alternators that are to be used to convert mechanical power to electrical power in free-piston Stirlingcycle engines....

The term "COSMOWRAP" denotes a compact, stiff, remotely actuatable, lightweight, quick-release clamp that could be substituted for the larger, heavier, and more-difficult-to-use toggle-action...

A system of electronic hardware and software has been developed as an experimental prototype of a visual interface between a human operator and a possibly remote one-arm...

Briefs: Motion Control
Software for Geometric Calibration of Video Cameras

A software library and set of programs largely automate the geometric calibration of video cameras. Developed especially for robotic vision systems, this software generates the information needed to determine the three-dimensional (3D) positions of objects that appear in two- dimensional (2D)...

The figure depicts a mechanism that is capable of simultaneously rotating as many as six disposable bioreactor chambers about horizontal axes. The particular bioreactor chambers for...

Tip fences have been invented to reduce the noise generated in the airflows about the high-lift systems (the flaps and slats) of airplane wings. Tip fences also afford an important...

Briefs: Motion Control
Equipment for Removal of EDM Water Filters

An assembly of lifting equipment has been devised to enable the safe removal of water filters used in electrical-discharge machining (EDM). As explained below, this equipment prevents injuries of a type formerly associated with changing the filters.

Briefs: Motion Control
Measuring Turbomachine-Blade Deflections in Two Dimensions

A report describes a method of simultaneously measuring steady-state axial and tangential turbomachine-blade deflections by use of fiber-optic probes and probe actuators designed specifically for this purpose. Each fiber-optic probe illuminates a small spot and, by measuring a change in...

Briefs: Motion Control
Motorized Rotator for an Ultrasonic Probe

An apparatus has been devised to enable accurate, reproducible angular positioning of an ultrasonic probe used to diagnose the carotid artery. More specifically, the apparatus is intended for use in a clinical setting in which the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid artery is measured by use of...

Briefs: Motion Control
Progress in Magnetoelastic Vibration Dampers

A report describes uniaxial-stress-versus-strain experiments that were performed on polycrystalline Tb76Dy24 alloy specimens. [Also see "Magnetoelastic Vibration Dampers" (NPO-20988) on page 56 of this issue.] The proposal is to use Tb-Dy alloys as vibration-damping materials at...

Briefs: Motion Control
Software for Analyzing Traversability of Terrain

Grid-Based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain (GESTALT) is a software library that helps a robotic wheeled vehicle choose a safe path across nearby terrain. The input to GESTALT consists mainly of three-dimensional range measurements of the nearby terrain taken by...

Briefs: Motion Control
Six-Legged Experimental Robot

The figure depicts the Legged Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot (LEMUR) - a six-legged robot for demonstrating robotic capabilities for assembly, maintenance, and inspection. LEMUR is designed to be capable of...

The figure depicts a tendon-driven, three-fingered robot hand (or foot, depending on one's perspective) designed to be installed on the end of the left front leg of the six-legged robot...

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