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
A Precise Closed-Loop Temperature-Control System

A control system that includes a single thermal source has been designed to afford precise control of the temperature of a fluid flowing in a closed-loop system. Similar control systems could make it possible to increase production levels and to reduce risks in industrial situations in which...

An apparatus called a "pneumatic stinger" has been developed to enable a first spacecraft, operating under remote control, to grasp a second spacecraft that is in orbit or other...

Servomotor drive manufacturers agree that the performance of today's digital drive is largely determined by the performance of its feedback device. Clearly, previous feedback solutions, such as...

Briefs: Motion Control
Finding a Solution for Bellows Coupling Failure

When a problem such as breaking bellows couplings threatens to halt a machinery production line, it is necessary to look beyond the obvious. In an application in which the coupling works on a Heidenhain encoder for an X-Y table that positions circuit boards, representatives of the user company and...

Energy efficiency is a continuing focus of the power electronics industry. Motors consume the most electricity in commercial and industrial applications (followed at a distant second by...

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...

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...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Metal Injection Molding’s Role in Automotive

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Technical Ceramics: The Powerhouse of Advanced Materials

Upcoming Webinars: Software

PPAP Reviews Using AI and Machine Learning

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

2020 Create the Future Contest Awards

Upcoming Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Advancement of Spectrum Analysis Techniques for Tracking,...

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