Motion Control/​Automation

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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

Electronic circuitry has been devised to compensate for variations in the resonance quality factor (Q) of a planar vibratory microgyroscope like that described in the first of the...

Briefs: Motion Control

The circuit shown in the figure is a controller for bistable brakes. The use of bistable brakes reduces energy consumption and spurious heating, as explained below.

A bistable brake is one that can stay...

Briefs: Motion Control

The gaseous hydrogen flow control vale (GH2FCV; see Figure 1) is a critical space shuttle component that controls the pressure of the hydrogen external tank during launch and ascent...

Briefs: Motion Control

Technological advances have driven the evolution of aircraft flight-control systems. In the dawn of 20th-century aviation, the Wright Brothers used cables and warping of wing surfaces to change...

Briefs: Motion Control

Adaptive variable bias control (AVBC) is an improved technique for controlling the currents supplied to the electromagnets in magnetic bearings. In AVBC, the bias currents are varied in...

Briefs: Motion Control

The term "mechanical mirroring using controlled stiffness and actuators" ("MEMICA") denotes a developmental concept for reflecting contact forces, displacements, mechanical damping,...

Briefs: Motion Control

A commercial version of the NASA plasma-contactor hollow-cathode assembly (PC HCA) has been developed. The NASA PC HCA is a highly reliable hollow discharge cathode that is the most thoroughly...

Briefs: Motion Control

A developmental technique for automated alignment of threaded fasteners involves the use of the axial force between the fasteners as an indication of alignment. The technique was...

Briefs: Motion Control
Small-Stroke, High-Frequency Reciprocating Pump

A proposed reciprocating pump would operate at a small stroke and would contain no sliding parts. The oscillatory motion of a piston in the pump could be provided by a magnetostrictive actuator, for example.

Briefs: Motion Control

The heat-driven pulse pump has been invented in an effort to satisfy a need for pumps that can circulate heat-transfer fluids at low flow rates with high reliability over long operational lifetimes. The heat-driven...

Briefs: Motion Control

An improved magnetostrictively actuated pump has been developed to satisfy a need for a small, low-pressure, high-flow-rate fluid pump that contains few moving parts and can run reliably for long periods...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

The figure depicts a proposed miniature, electrically actuated, one-time-opening isolation valve that would be made mostly of silicon, by use of micromachining techniques. Isolation...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

A six-legged robot resembling an insect and a legless segmented robot resembling a worm (see figure) have been proposed as prototypes of biomorphic explorers  small, mobile, exploratory robots...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

An improved system for densifying (by cooling) the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen used as propellants for the space shuttle has been proposed. These propellant liquids are...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

An electromechanical device called the "Dexterous Master" (DM) is an exoskeletal mechanism that is worn on a human operator's hand for (1) measuring the positions and orientations of the...

Briefs: Motion Control

A device that measures both translational acceleration and rotation exploits the dynamics of a vibratory structure that resembles a clover leaf. This device is related to other vibratory accelerometers...

Briefs: Motion Control

A methodology proposed for actively controlling flows involves the use of proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) to derive computational models of reduced order. The methodology...

Briefs: Motion Control

Spectrol has produced an innovative design for a three-terminal voltage output device that integrates a Hall-effect sensor and a patented magnetic circuit to convert radial...

Briefs: Motion Control
Biomorphic Robot With Distributed Power

The biomorphic robot with distributed power (BIROD) is a prototype of a class of robots that will contain simple, reliable distributed actuators that will consume power from local sources - a design concept inspired in part by biological actuators like muscles in limbs. The BIROD concept stands in...

Briefs: Motion Control

A fault-tolerant feedback (FTF) system has been integrated into a robot control system to prevent robot-arm runaways that could be caused by failure of one or more transducers such as...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

An electromechanical device implements a unique method of actuating a fabric joint in an inflatable structure  in particular, the joint in an astronaut's pressure suit. The method is...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Modifications of the Ventricular Assist Device

A report discusses some modifications of the ventricular assist device (VAD), which was described in "Small Implantable Pump Would Assist Circulation of Blood" (MSC-22424), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 20, No. 7 (July 1996), page 86. The VAD is a surgically implantable, miniature rotary pump designed to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

A program of flight testing of an instrumented subscale model of the X-33 aerospace vehicle is underway. The objectives of this program are the following:

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Gimbaled Injectors for Testing Spacecraft Thrusters

A report proposes an assembly of gimbaled valve/nozzle subassemblies for use in injecting either a propellant fluid (e.g., monomethyl hydrazine) or a propellant-simulating fluid (e.g., water) into the combustion chamber of a spacecraft thruster during hot-fire or cold testing, respectively. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

A regenerable, low-power air-purification system has been proposed for (1) removing toxic gases from solid-waste-incinerator exhaust and/or (2) removing trace contaminants from breathable...

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

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