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.

Small hybrid rocket engines of a proposed type would burn specially shaped hollow cylinders of solid fuel containing slanted oxygen-injection channels, as shown in the figure....

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Turbomolecular Pump for High Vacuum

A proposed miniature turbomolecular pump would be a prototype of high-vacuum sources for a forthcoming generation of miniature, portable mass spectrometers and other scientific instruments. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Pistol-Grip Torque-Measuring Power Tool

The figure shows one aspect of the exterior appearance of a pistol-grip torque-measuring power tool. The tool is a self-contained, computer controlled, 3/8-in. (~9.5-mm) drive pistol-grip style tool....

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars Ascent Propulsion System

A report presents an overview of continuing efforts to develop an advanced propulsion system for a spacecraft that would ascend from Mars to bring samples to Earth. The system is required to be smaller and to weigh and cost less, in comparison with a conventionally designed system of equal capability. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Development of Gear Technology and Theory of Gearing

A NASA Reference Publication discusses gear technology from mathematical and historical perspectives. Following a preface containing historical and philosophical observations, the first of three chapters presents mathematical details of the theory of gearing, including recent developments...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Apparatus for Testing Vacuum Torsional Dampers

A laboratory apparatus called a "vacuum damper investigation and performance evaluation robot" ("V-DIAPER") affords capabilities for vacuum dynamic testing of torsional dampers. The apparatus...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA Developing Crew-Return Vehicle

Up a creek without a paddle? Not if you're an International Space Station astronaut with a CRV. That's short for Crew Return Vehicle, and it's being developed following an innovative approach in the X-38...

The linear motor was invented in the mid-nineteenth century, at much the same time as its brother, the rotating electric motor. Because the linear motor always has to effect a reversing movement -...

Briefs: Motion Control
PC Control withIntegrated Motion

PC-based control has become one of the fastest-growing automation solutions for the factory floor. Control engineers are quickly dropping their proprietary PLC boxes and replacing them with PC-based control...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Arm Actuated by Electroactive Polymers

The figure shows a robot arm that is essentially a miniature crane actuated by electroactive polymers. This mechanism has been constructed as part of a continuing effort to develop lightweight,...

The Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) has been a partner in many uninhabited-aerial-vehicle (UAV) test programs. Our participation has largely been in the areas of...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Active Homopolar Magnetic Bearing

A report presents information on an earlier work on active magnetic bearings with high-critical-temperature superconducting coils. To recapitulate, the device is a homopolar radial-type active magnetic bearing with a bias coil and control coils made of a high-critical-temperature superconductor. The report...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Experiment on Quasi-Tailless Flight of an X-31A Airplane

An experiment consisting of flight tests on the X-31A airplane (see figure) has demonstrated the ability to use thrust vectoring to replace the functions of stabilization and turn...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Human-Powered Centrifuges and Stationary Exercise Stations

Human-powered machines that can be operated as centrifuges or as stationary exercise stations have been invented. These machines are suitable for a variety of terrestrial and...

Briefs: Motion Control
Mobile System for Control of a Remote Rocket-Launching Range

The Wallops Flight Facility of the Goddard Space Flight Center has designed and built in-house a Mobile Range Control System (MRCS), which is a self-contained system to be deployed in support of rocket launches at remote ranges in cases in which termination of flight may be required...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Lambda Sensors for Engine-Control Systems

Small, lightweight sensors that exploit the unique characteristics of nanoceramics are being developed for use in measuring air/fuel ratios in the exhaust gas flows of advanced aircraft...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Thermal Batteries Made With Nanostructured Material

Early experiments in a continuing research program have demonstrated that thermal batteries made from powdered solid electrode and electrolyte materials can be improved by use of smaller...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Solar Heating of Batteries in Cold Environments

According to a proposal for small electric-power systems that must operate in cold environments, heat released in the operation of solar photovoltaic arrays with solar concentrators would be...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Liquid-Circulation System Keeps Aircrew Members Cool

Each member of the aircrew of an advanced fighter airplane wears a complex, multilayered ensemble that imposes a significant thermal burden by inhibiting normal transport of heat from the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Engines for Remotely Piloted Atmospheric-Science Airplanes

A spark-ignited reciprocating gasoline engine, intake-pressurized with three cascaded stages of turbocharging, was selected by NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor...

Wiping devices that exploit fingerlike bending motions produced by electroactive polymeric (ionomeric) actuators are undergoing development. These wiping devices function similarly to...

It is not necessary to allocate valuable forebody volume to strake-deployment mechanisms.

The figure presents a partial cross section of two poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) tubes with machined ends butted and sealed together in a special coupling fixture. This coupling scheme,...

A surface-micromachining process has been devised for use in fabricating microscopic polycrystalline diamond structures (e.g., bridges and cantilevers) as integral...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ceramic Hybrid Electromechanical Systems

Ceramic hybrid electromechanical systems (CHEMS) have been proposed to overcome some of the disadvantages while retaining most of the advantages of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Whereas MEMS are fabricated mostly by micromachining of silicon and have typical feature sizes of the order of microns...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Performance of an Arc-Jet Thruster

A report discusses the design and testing of a laboratory-model arc-jet thruster designed to operate at a nominal power level of 300 W. This thruster is an intermediate product of continuing efforts to develop smaller, lower-power, higher-specific-impulse thrusters for use in a forthcoming generation of small...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hollow Shaft Actuators with Harmonic Drive Gearing

Harmonic drive gearing is recognized by designers for its zero backlash, high gear ratios, and compact design features. A recent development by HD Systems incorporates a large hollow shaft...

When developing the guidance system of a missile, it is necessary to know the resonant frequencies and mode shapes of the missile in flight. Simulating the free vibration condition in the...

The automated propellant-blending machine, a Johnson Space Center (JSC) innovation, refines the production processes of commercial rocket-propellant manufacturers by: (1) generating inert blends that...

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Helping HEV/EV Batteries Go the Distance and Stay Cool Under Pressure

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Standardization for Automated-Vehicle Testing and Simulation

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Rotary Position Sensing for EV Powertrain Applications

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Best Practices for Avoiding Systematic Faults and Handling Random...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

How to Identify Good Collaborative Robot Projects

Upcoming Webinars: Transportation

Commercial Vehicle Electrification: Still on Track?

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