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.

A proposed robotic apparatus for underground exploration would propel itself downward in a percussive manner reminiscent of a jackhammer, pile driver, or hammer-and-chisel combination....

Briefs: Motion Control
Software for Selecting Modes of Vibration of a Structure

A computer program facilitates the selection of the dominant modes of vibration of a structure - especially the dominant modes that interact with specific locations on the structure. This program is intended for use in conjunction with any of the various vibration-mode-analysis programs...

Miniature electroactive-polymer rakes (MEARs) are undergoing development for eventual use as simple, lightweight, inexpensive low-power-consumption devices that would remove soil, dust, and/or other...

Engineers at Johnson Space Center have invented a relatively inexpensive, lightweight device that provides vibrational and thermal isolation for low-power electronic equipment. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ultrasonic Detector and Identifier of Land Mines

A robotic apparatus equipped with ultrasonic probes and other instrumentation has been proposed to reduce the danger and cost and increase the speed of searching for land mines. The apparatus...

Self-tuning impact dampers have been proposed as improved means for suppressing vibrations in the rotor blades of turbomachines (turbines and compressors). Dampers are needed because...

A double-parallelogram ("porch swing") carriage mechanism has been devised to provide for free linear motion of one or more retroreflector(s) in a Fourier-transform infrared...

Measurement and control systems based on microwave radiometers would be used to prevent unstarts in the next generation of high-speed (up to mach 2.4) civil-transport airplanes, according to a...

Briefs: Motion Control
Non-Ablative Aeroshells

Two reports propose the development of non-ablative aeroshells for braking of spacecraft entering the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, and other planets. The primary advantages of non-ablative aeroshells, relative to ablative aeroshells, results from reduced mass and increased aerodynamic stability of the aeroshell occasioned...

Proposed packages called "remote engineering units" (REUs) would contain all the electronic circuitry needed to implement a subset of the design of the motor-control system of a robot....

Briefs: Motion Control
Novel Radiator for a Space Suit

An improved radiator has been designed to provide inexpensive and highly reliable thermal control for an extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) [basically, a space suit equipped with a portable life-support...

Briefs: Motion Control
Spin Bearings

Spin bearings have been invented as alternatives to such conventional rolling-element bearings as ball, spherical, needle, and roller bearings. Like a conventional bearing assembly, a spin-bearing assembly includes opposing...

Briefs: Motion Control
Advanced, Lightweight, Low-Power-Consumption Actuator Brake

An advanced, lightweight, low-power consumption brake has been developed to satisfy NASA's special requirements for use on actuators during spaceflight. This brake can increase the stopping, holding, and parking ability of a spacecraft while reducing its electrical power consumption....

A method of computing the speed at which to command an autonomous robotic vehicle to travel over rough terrain has been devised. The method amounts to a robotic implementation of the...

A method of estimating the state of contact between (1) the wheels of a robotic vehicle equipped with a rocker-bogey suspension and (2) the ground has been devised. The contact-state...

A first-order mathematical model has been developed in a theoretical study of the dynamics of a load suspended by a cable from a crane that moves along a straight track. The model...

In a proposed technique for fabrication of microelectromechanical devices, thin films of fullerenes would be used as temporary packaging to protect and position delicate...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Inertial/GPS Pointing and Positioning System

A data system generates information on the position and orientation of a pointing instrument (e.g., a telescope or a laser) that could be mounted on a moving platform (e.g., an aircraft) and...

Briefs: Motion Control
Conformably Stowable Canard

An improved secondary wing system of the canard type has been invented to improve performance and increase efficiency of airplanes capable of flight at supersonic and high subsonic speeds. Canards, including...

Briefs: Motion Control
Manually Operated Weld-Filler-Wire Feeder

A simple, manually operated mechanical device will ensure a smooth and predictable motion when feeding filler wire into a molten weld pool in gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). This device simplifies and/or reduces the requirements for a dexterous hand to hold and manipulate filler wire. This device will...

The ability to position an object at various locations corresponding to a portion of a spherical surface has long been accomplished using nested goniometers, in which, as observed...

Surface-acoustic-wave (SAW) piezoelectric motors capable of operating in multiple degrees of freedom (DOFs) simultaneously have been proposed. A particularly useful motor of this type...

Experiments have shown that electrohydrodynamic pumping can be utilized to increase the heat-transport capacity of a heat pipe. More specifically, electrohydrodynamic pumping can...

The figure presents a simplified and partly schematic view of a two-stage rolling-piston compressor that is undergoing development for use as the prime mover in a vapor-compression...

A proposed solenoid-actuated valve would open for a short time to pass a very small quantity of fluid. The valve could be used to meter a specified total quantity of the fluid through repeated...

Briefs: Motion Control
Formulation and Algorithm for Multi-Flexible-Body Dynamics

An improved formulation of the dynamics of multiple flexible bodies coupled via joints, and an algorithm that implements the formulation, have been developed at Johnson Space Center (JSC). A robot arm with multiple, somewhat flexible links is a prime example of a dynamic system to which...

Briefs: Motion Control
Myoelectric Teleoperation for Robotics and Prosthetics

Johnson Space Center is sponsoring continuing research on the use of myoelectric signals to control dexterous robotic and prosthetic hands. This research is expected to advance the state of the art beyond that of today's most common, commercially available, myoelectrically controlled...

Modified Hartley oscillator circuits are being developed for use in driving large piezoelectric benders in periodic motion, as in some piezoelectrically driven pumps. These circuits...

A proposed method of calibration of micromachined vibratory gyroscopes would make it unnecessary to test the gyroscopes at known rates of rotation. At present, calibration entails inertial...

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Technical Ceramics: The Powerhouse of Advanced Materials

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PPAP Reviews Using AI and Machine Learning

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Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

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