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 : Test & Measurement
Thinking Outside the Cabinet: What Does Motor-Integrated Automation Technology Have to Do with Your Business ROI?

Thinking cabinet-free is nothing new. We’ve always been able to eliminate some parts from the cabinet and integrate them into the machine. If you are thinking of redesigning your machine or designing a new machine, this article is...

Briefs : Transportation
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller

Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a method for controlling precise motion of a brushless DC (BLDC) motor using relatively inexpensive components. Precision motors are usually quite expensive and inefficient when operating at slow speeds. Current motors are only capable of operating at...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New on the Market: March 2019

Controller and Datalogger

Watlow, St. Louis, MO, introduced a batch processing feature for the F4T temperature and process controller and D4T datalogger. The new feature helps collect manufacturing part...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Products of Tomorrow: March 2019

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Briefs : Medical
Computer-Controlled Exercise Equipment

While a wide variety of computer-controlled exercise machines for training and rehabilitation exist — some of which can be automatically adjusted to vary resistance or incline — such systems provide for preprogrammed changes in load or resistance. What is needed is a system that overcomes the...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
The Heat Is On: A Guide to Specifying Insulation Materials

One of the first things an electrical engineer will learn is that the number-one enemy of designing and manufacturing any electrical/electronic product is heat. It's the one...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Building Blocks for a Practical Wireless Sensor System

We recently interviewed Justin Bessette, Manager, Wireless Systems and Software Engineering at LORD Corporation, Micro-Strain® Sensing Systems, about the nuts and bolts of a wireless...

Products : Electronics & Computers
New Products: March 2019 Sensor Technology

Torque Measurement System

To address the demand for a more accurate, reliable, customizable, and easy-to-use force measurement device, Interface Force Measurement Systems (Scottsdale, AZ)...

Articles : Transportation
Create the Future Design Contest Alumni Achieve Market Success

The Create the Future Design Contest, launched in 2002 by the publishers of Tech Briefs magazine, helps stimulate and reward engineering innovation. The annual event has...

5 Ws : Data Acquisition
5 Ws of 3D-Printing Piezoelectric Materials

Who

Piezoelectric materials are used in everything from cellphones and wearables, to robotics, energy harvesting, and tactile sensors.

Blog : Software
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
With self-driving vehicles poised to take the road, how can today’s engineers prepare themselves to support an autonomous future?
White Papers : Design
Substrate Mastered Scale on a CMM

The thermal behavior of encoder scale is an important consideration when selecting any encoder system. Renishaw's scales are effectively either thermally independent of the substrate (floating) or thermally dependent on the substrate (mastered); depending on the scale thickness / material and mounting method....

Briefs : Software
Speedy Motor Modeling

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have created open source software that scales up analysis of motor designs to run on the fastest computers available.

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Walking Robot Moves Without GPS

Ants are able to use polarized light and ultraviolet radiation to locate themselves in space. AntBot mimics this ability to explore its environment randomly and go home automatically, without GPS or...

Question of the Week : Automotive
Will ‘Developable Mechanisms’ Solve Complex Tasks?

Brigham Young University engineers have created "developable mechanisms" that they hope to use in components like surgical instruments, adjustable airplane wings, robotic arms, or vehicle cylinders. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV, to see how the flat shapes can be converted into 3D...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
SAE J3061 and ISO 26262? They’re Made for Each Other

Embedded systems in cars are increasingly complex and connected, and the inherent security implications are not explicitly addressed by ISO 26262. SAE J3061 addresses that security deficiency, complementing the functional safety focus of ISO 26262.

White Papers : Electronics & Computers
Peltier 'Affects' Autonomous Vehicle Design

Coined the “PELTIER EFFECT” after its discoverer, Jean Charles Athanase Peltier, thermoelectric cooling has been utilized in marketable products for decades. Such products have a history of being used in “new” applications. In the 1970s, thermoelectric elements were cooling components in NASA...

Blog : Photonics/Optics
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
Even a shape-morphing plane is possible, says Harvard's Ehsan Hajiesmaili.
On-Demand Webinars : Automotive
Automated and Connected Commercial Vehicles: Next Steps for ‘Hands-Off’ Operation

Demonstrations of increasingly connected and automated heavy vehicles on public highways and bustling worksites are becoming more commonplace, as the commercial vehicle industry continues to pursue improved fuel efficiency and operator productivity while...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Designing Self-Propelled, Chemically Active Sheets

Researchers have created a two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet that moves autonomously in a reactant-filled fluid. The integrated system utilizes a chemical reaction to activate the fluid...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Micro-Robot Climbs on Vertical and Upside-Down Conductive Surfaces

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Briefs : Software
Foot Pedal Controller

A novel foot-pedal-operated system and device were developed to control translational and rotational movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The Foot Pedal Controller system enables operators to control...

Products : Motion Control
New Products: February 2019 Motion Design

Motor Control Integrated Circuit

Microsemi Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology (Aliso Viejo, CA), announced the LX7720 radiation-tolerant motor control integrated...

Articles : Aerospace
Advanced Connector Technologies: From Aerospace to Racecars to Robots

Different types of motion encountered in dynamic environments require designers to specify connectors for boards, wiring, and devices that can meet significant g-forces,...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Robots Bring Airplane Production Up to Speed

Robots are helping a European airplane manufacturer cut into an eight-year backlog of orders for one of its most popular aircraft.

Articles : Motion Control
Implementing Anti-Rotational Guidance for Stepper Motor Linear Actuators

Integrating lead screws with stepper motors is a simple and cost-effective method for getting precise linear motion. But achieving that precision requires...

Briefs : Communications
Tiny Robots Grow Bio-inspired Shapes

Hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes without an underlying master plan, purely based on local communication and movement. To achieve this, the biological...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Artificial Joint Restores Wrist-Like Movements

For patients missing a hand, one of the biggest challenges to regaining a high level of function is the inability to rotate one's wrist (pronate and supinate). These are essential movements...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects at the Speed of Light

Numerous devices in everyday life use computerized cameras to identify objects — think of automated teller machines that can “read” handwritten dollar amounts when...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Facility Focus: Savannah River National Laboratory

The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) — located in Aiken, SC — is the applied research and development laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site...

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