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.

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Humidity Measurement Devices for Mars Are Ready for Final Testing
Vaisala Corp. Helsinki, Finland
www.vaisala.com

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) is delivering pressure and humidity measuring devices based on Vaisala technology for use on NASA’s next robotic mission to Mars — the Mars 2020 rover. The pressure...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Face-Tracking Robot
Face-Tracking Robot

A robot is being developed that tracks facial movements to perform human tasks. The robot resembles large, squiggly arms holding tiny cameras. Sitting in a rolling office chair across from one of the arms, the robot's...

Face-Tracking Robot
Articles : Electronics & Computers
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

On September 1, 1961, NASA requested appropriations for initial land purchases on Merritt Island on Florida’s east coast to support the Apollo Lunar Landing Program. Designers quickly began developing...

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
A new app opens up robotics to a large user base.
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
News : Test & Measurement
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 3 — Unusual Exhibits
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 3 — Unusual Exhibits
Editor Bruce A. Bennett takes us through the unusual — and completely unexpected —at this year's LASER World of Photonics.
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 3 — Unusual Exhibits
Motion Design : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tool Tells Robots Where Nearby Humans are Headed
Tool Tells Robots Where Nearby Humans are Headed

On a factory floor, robots are programmed to stop momentarily if a person passes by. The robot often freezes in place long before a person crosses its path. While robots can predict where a...

Tool Tells Robots Where Nearby Humans are Headed
Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Microbots Like HAMR-E Improve Search and Rescue?

Researchers from Harvard University's Wyss Institute created a 1.5-gram microbot called HAMR-E.

White Papers : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Get Ready for Factory Intelligence

Successful medical manufacturing depends on speed, accuracy and efficiency. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through seamless collaboration between people and machines — also known as factory intelligence.

Special Reports : Transportation
Powertrain

The latest powertrain innovations for cars and commercial vehicles are featured in this Special Report, a compendium of recent articles from the editors of Automotive Engineering and Truck & Off-Highway Engineering.

Special Reports : Internet of Things
Connected Commercial Vehicles

Trucks and other commercial vehicles are becoming smarter and more connected, moving rapidly on the road to autonomy. To help you keep pace with the latest developments, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Truck & Off-Highway Engineering and Autonomous Vehicle Engineering.

Special Reports : Test & Measurement
Automotive Manufacturing

Factories are getting smarter thanks to advances in robotics, analytics, simulation, metrology and more. To help you keep pace with the latest developments, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Automotive Engineering and Automotive Manufacturing & Machining.

Special Reports : Imaging
ADAS/Connected Car

Today's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and connected cars are paving the way for tomorrow's automated vehicles. To help you keep pace with the latest technology developments, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Automotive Engineering, Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, and Truck &...

Special Reports : Imaging
Robotics & Machine Vision

Advances in robotics and machine vision are transforming the factory floor. To help you keep pace with the latest developments in industrial automation, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs, Automotive Engineering, and Medical Design Briefs magazines.

Special Reports : Energy
Vehicle Electrification

Demand for electric vehicles is accelerating, with several major automakers announcing that their entire lineups will either be hybrid or all-electric by the 2020's. To help you keep pace with the rapid changes in vehicle electrification technology, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of...

Podcasts : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Here's an Idea: Candy
Here's an Idea: Candy
In this episode of Here's an Idea, we explore how candy manufacturers large and small turn to technology to support their newest, sweetest ideas.
Here's an Idea: Candy
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
How Lean Manufacturing Adds Value to PCB Production

Lean Manufacturing (Lean) philosophy focuses on eliminating any production component that does not deliver value to the customer. We will explore the impact of Lean on the PCB industry, including how it may provide competitive advantage to those organizations making Lean a key part of their...

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To
Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To

While robots like the WildCat from Boston Dynamics reach speeds of just under 20 miles an hour, engineers from Georgia Tech have gone with a decidedly slower approach.

Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To
White Papers : Design
Shaping the Future of Service Robotics

Robots emerged in the early 1960s as a way to automate the monotonous and dangerous tasks in factories around the world. As time passed and new technologies emerged, these robots have taken a place outside of the industrial market and alongside humans in manufacturing and non-manufacturing applications...

Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: June 2019 Motion Design
New Products: June 2019 Motion Design

Rotary Ball Spline

NB Corporation of America (Hanover Park, IL) released a rotary ball spline that can be used for both rotational and linear motion. Applications include SCARA robots, the...

New Products: June 2019 Motion Design
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Snake-Inspired Robot
Snake-Inspired Robot

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

Snake-Inspired Robot
Motion Design : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring
Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring

In discussing fatigue life, it is important to distinguish between disc springs and conical spring washers, as they differ by design and intended usage. Conical spring washers are...

Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring
Motion Design : Motion Control
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion

Employing fluid power to achieve mechanical motion can be implemented via hydraulics using uncompressible liquids or via pneumatics using compressible gasses; typically, air. The latter provides several...

Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Briefs : Software
Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation
Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation

A new learning system improves a robot’s ability to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a...

Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation
Motion Design : Test & Measurement
Vision Sensors in Factory Automation
Vision Sensors in Factory Automation

There are a number of ways to extract data from a production line. In factory automation, sensors are used in work cells to gather data for inspection or to trigger other devices. These sensors fall into...

Vision Sensors in Factory Automation
Briefs : Transportation
Gear Bearings
Gear Bearings

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed gear bearing technology that combines gear and bearing functions into a single unit that significantly improves gear drives for electrical, internal combustion, and turbine motors. The...

Gear Bearings
Application Briefs : Communications
Cross-Training Made Possible by Common Control Platform
Cross-Training Made Possible by Common Control Platform

EMAG L.L.C. is the U.S. subsidiary of a major German machine tool builder that specializes in machine tools for the production of automotive, off-highway, agricultural, and oil field...

Cross-Training Made Possible by Common Control Platform
Application Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair

For wheelchair users, the feeling of uneven ground can seem all too familiar. Determined to make ride discomfort a thing of the past, Israel-based SoftWheel has completely reinvented the wheel for a...

Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Smart, Soft, Back Orthosis Uses Real-Time Motion Detection

Back pain is inevitable with constrained posture over a number of hours. Permanent damage such as premature spine wear is not uncommon in people who do not adopt proper ergonomic posture. The same applies to those who frequently lift heavy objects.

Briefs : Propulsion
Improved Directed Flux Motor

Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight,...