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
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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

A personal-computer-based system has been developed as a prototype of electronic signal-processing and computing systems for diagnosis of turbines, motors, and other rotary...

Briefs: Motion Control

The figure illustrates an improved electronic circuit that generates a signal proportional to either the instantaneous vibrational velocity or the instantaneous position...

Briefs: Motion Control
Pulse-Mode Reaction Control System Thruster

A spacecraft reaction-control-system (RCS) thruster now undergoing development generates a thrust of 870 lbf (3,870 N) by burning ethanol and liquid oxygen (LOX), which are nontoxic. The performance of the thruster has been tested in operation in multiple pulse modes with pulses as short as 160 ms;...

Briefs: Motion Control

The figure illustrates an improved electronic circuit that excites constant-magnitude vibrations in an electrostatically actuated, capacitively sensed mechanical resonator. The circuit...

Briefs: Motion Control

Single crystals of Tb-Dy alloys exhibit magnetostrictive strains approaching 1 percent and can generate forces sufficiently large to make them useful as actuators in cryogenic...

Briefs: Motion Control

This is the first of four articles that address various issues concerning the generation and utilization of electronic signals in the operation of micromachined planar vibratory...

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: Motion 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: Sensors/Data Acquisition

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...

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