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.

White Papers: Motion Control
When Should Designers Use Crossed Roller Bearings?

Crossed roller bearings provide more accuracy, rigidity, and weight-bearing capacity for linear motion than other commonly used friction-reducing devices such as ball bearings. And unlike...

Computer scientists at UC San Diego developed a navigation system that will allow robots to better negotiate busy environments in a hospital
INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars Helicopter Begins New Phase

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has a new mission. Having proven that powered, controlled flight is possible on the Red Planet, the Ingenuity experiment will soon embark on a new operations...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Living, Swimming, Self-Training Robots

Using 3D bioprinting, researchers have created biobots at the centimeter size range that can swim and coast like fish with unprecedented velocity. Rather than working with stiff or tethered...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Senses Hidden Objects

MIT researchers developed RF-Grasp, a robot that uses radio waves to sense occluded objects. RF-Grasp uses both a camera and an RF reader to find and grab tagged objects, even when they’re fully blocked from...

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center developed designs for two micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) motion and position sensors: a single-axis accelerometer and a gyroscope....

Briefs: Motion Control
RFID-Based Rotary Position Sensor

Innovators have developed an RFID-based system for sensing the angular position of rotating systems. The RFID-Based Rotary Position Sensor can be used as a position/orientation sensor or implemented in a...

Briefs: Motion Control
Hinge Design Helps Quadrotors Climb
The new hinge is the key to get loadbearing, large quadrotors to climb a few dozen feet in seconds.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cord Tension Measurement Device
Potential applications include parachutes, hot air balloons, weather balloons, blimps, sails, and parasails.
NASA Spinoff: Robotics, Automation & Control
Hot Water on Demand
With a clever design by NASA, waiting for hot water could be a thing of the past.
An algorithm runs onboard a vehicle, providing important real-time data to aid in steering the craft.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
System Helps Drones Detect and Avoid Power Lines
This technology provides drones sufficient time and distance to react, avoid wires, and navigate follow-on maneuvers.
Autonomous quadcopters can be trained using simulations to increase their speed, agility, and efficiency.
Notable graduates of the school include Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, Google executive Eric Schmidt, Internet pioneer Bob Kahn, former Chrysler head Lee Iacocca, and six NASA astronauts.
The paper-like material could be useful in soft robots, sensors, artificial muscles, and electric generators.
5 Ws: Robotics, Automation & Control
5 Ws of Robot Healthcare Helpers
A research team programmed two robots — a humanoid figure and a robotic arm — to measure human physiological signals.
A new method could jump-start the creation of tiny medical devices for the body.
Articles: Electronics & Computers
Wireless Charging for Lunar Robots
See how WiBotic — a maker of wireless charging and fleet energy management technologies — is preparing robots for the Moon.
Special Reports: Wearables
Advanced Materials & Coatings - May 2021

New diamond super-material enhances military aircraft survivability…a gold film gives robots “chameleon skin”…shape-shifting nanomaterial offers exciting biotech...

This model can be used to design better aircraft without having to wait months for supercomputer calculations.
New software being developed at Ohio State University will allow creation of more complex DNA robots, at much faster speeds.

Northern Arizona University researchers developed high-performance artificial muscle technology based on linear actuators. Because of their helical structure, the actuators generate more power,...

White Papers: Green Design & Manufacturing
How High-efficiency Climate Control Solutions Save Energy and Cost

High temperatures in industrial settings are a leading cause of downtime. Controlling units and microprocessors age quickly under heat pressure, so generated heat...

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive
How Critical Are Localization and Perception Technologies for Enhanced Autonomous Driving?

Today autonomous driving solutions leverage diverse sensors, along with high-definition maps, to plan and maneuver their path. In an extremely competitive market, automakers are racing to deliver the next levels of autonomy driven by a mixed set of...

The technology demonstration is a first step in showing that humans could someday live (and breathe) on Mars.
White Papers: Electronics & Computers
An "Under the Hood" Look at Technology Supporting the World's Fastest EV Dragster

As more EV engineers adopt a non-Hall-effect approach to measuring current in their li-ion battery management systems (BMS), some components from...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
V2X, DSRC, and 5G: What You Need to Know About Vehicle Communications in 2021

Vehicle manufacturers are starting to build cars and trucks with new technology that allows the vehicles to share data, such as location and speed, directly with...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Robotic Exoskeletons Help the Elderly?

A team from the University of Waterloo is creating robotic exoskeleton legs that use A.I. to make their own steps and control decisions. "Learning" from a collection of sample-strolls around an environment, the system adjusts its movements based on the surroundings it senses.

Taking inspiration from the insect, Tufts researchers created light-activated composite devices that execute precise, visible movements and form complex three-dimensional shapes, like a "photonic sunflower. "

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