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.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core
Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core

Researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material. The fibers consist of a gallium metal core...

Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
2019 'Create the Future' Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation Category Winner: The HPCI® Joining Gun
2019 'Create the Future' Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation Category Winner: The HPCI® Joining Gun
A team of inventors found a fast way to join plastic to metal.
2019 'Create the Future' Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation Category Winner: The HPCI® Joining Gun
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Smart Electronic Skin for Robots and Prosthetics

Humans use the sense of touch to accomplish almost every daily task such as picking up a cup of coffee or shaking someone’s hand. Without it, humans can even lose their sense of balance when walking. Similarly, robots need to have a sense of touch in order to interact better with humans but...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces
Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces

Researchers have developed a formula that enables them to recreate different levels of perceived softness. Based on the results from their experiments, they created equations that can calculate how...

Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces
Briefs : Data Acquisition
Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras
Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras

UCLA engineers have made major improvements on their design of an optical neural network — a device inspired by how the human brain works — that can identify objects or process...

Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras
INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects
“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects

MIT researchers have compiled a dataset that captures the detailed behavior of a robotic system physically pushing hundreds of different objects. Using the dataset, robots “learn” pushing...

“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Acting Like Bees, Tiny Drones Find Their Way Through Unknown Environments
Acting Like Bees, Tiny Drones Find Their Way Through Unknown Environments
A minimal, map-less approach to drone navigation takes after the bee.
Acting Like Bees, Tiny Drones Find Their Way Through Unknown Environments
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Finding the Right Approach: How to Test a Vehicle’s ECU

Modern vehicles can contain over 100 ECUs controlling everything from the drivetrain to the ADAS systems. Each ECU needs to be tested individually as well as in conjunction with other components. This white paper discusses the five main tester design challenges and five common approaches...

White Papers : Automotive
Securing the Connected Car: Application Code Matters

Connected car application developers have seen a shift from static, fixed function, device specific applications to a “cloud” connected world, vulnerable to the whims of bad actors and white hat hackers alike.

White Papers : Motion Control
Specialized Sensors Perform in Extreme Environments

Demand for sensors that can operate in extreme conditions is increasing, in response to an overall industry trend toward additional product performance testing and monitoring. It takes an extremely durable design to make reliable measurements in extreme conditions, which may include high or...

On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
The Importance of Signal Routing to Maximize Automated Test System Performance and Reliability

When designing an automated test system, an important but often overlooked task is the development of a signal routing subsystem that connects the test instrumentation and switching elements to the device under test. Implementing a signal routing...

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
AUSA 2019: A View From the Show Floor
AUSA 2019: A View From the Show Floor
Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
AUSA 2019: A View From the Show Floor
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
Military Robotics

While drones are relatively new additions to the military's stable of high-tech robotic systems, ground-based robots have been in use for more than a decade. From detecting, defusing, and disposing of explosives to working side-by-side with soldiers in the field, robots have found a myriad of applications within the...

Blog : Imaging
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Validate Autonomous VTOL Safety

Prepared for Takeoff? When market share is up for grabs, virtual VTOL testing is the only way to fly. ANSYS offers the industry’s most complete simulation solution for accelerating autonomous aircraft development. It integrates high-fidelity physics with sensor design and testing, functional safety...

News : Physical Sciences
Superluminal Jets and Time Reversibility

Astrophysicists Jon Hakkila of the College of Charleston and Robert Nemiroff of the Michigan Technological University have published research indicating that blasts that create gamma-ray bursts may actually exceed the speed of light in surrounding gas clouds, but do so without violating Einstein's theory...

News : Physical Sciences
Ringing of a Newborn Black Hole

If Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity holds true, then a black hole, born from the cosmically quaking collisions of two massive black holes, should itself "ring" in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverberates sound waves. Einstein predicted that the particular...

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Reconfigurable Electronics Show Promise for Wearable, Implantable Devices
Reconfigurable Electronics Show Promise for Wearable, Implantable Devices

Medical implants of the future may feature reconfigurable electronic platforms that can morph in shape and size dynamically as bodies change or even transform to...

Reconfigurable Electronics Show Promise for Wearable, Implantable Devices
White Papers : Transportation
How to Determine Creepage and Clearance Requirements for 48-Volt Applications

This white paper provides OEMs with TE’s approach for evaluating connectors for 48-volt applications that are designed with reference to UL 840 and IEC 60664-1 standards. The paper provides TE’s methodology, for evaluating creepage and clearance, the two key...

Briefs : Motion Control
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps

A set of five tiny fundamental parts can be assembled into a wide variety of functional devices including a tiny “walking” motor that can move back and forth across a surface or...

Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Briefs : Materials
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics

3D printers that build small parts layer by layer from melted plastic can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized piece. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of...

High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Neural Lander Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

Landing multi-rotor drones smoothly is difficult. Complex turbulence is created by the airflow from each rotor bouncing off the ground during a descent. This turbulence is not well understood nor is it easy to compensate for, particularly for autonomous drones. That is why takeoff and landing are...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
The characteristics of hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
Articles : Photonics/Optics
How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals
How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals

In the digital age, the measurement of rotation of a mechanical shaft on a motor or a rotating instrument knob needs to be done quickly and efficiently....

How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals
Briefs : Software
Smartphone App Programs Robots
Smartphone App Programs Robots

A smartphone app was developed that allows a user to easily program any robot to perform a mundane activity such as picking up parts from one area and delivering them to another. The app, called VRa, uses...

Smartphone App Programs Robots
Articles : Electronics & Computers
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
While most cars today run on 12-volt DC batteries, cars in the future will run on 48 volts. This increased voltage could affect ball bearing performance.
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer

A high-sensitivity and low-noise MEMS accelerometer was developed using multi-layer metal structures composed of multiple metal layers. The accelerometer achieves 1 μG level resolution that has...

High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
Products : Semiconductors & ICs
New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
New Products: October 2019 Motion Design

Brushless Servo Motor

maxon precision motors (Taunton, MA) released the EC-i30 20W brushless servomotor with integrated electronics. With an integrated 4-quadrant speed controller, the motor...

New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
Briefs : Internet of Things
Miniature Stretchable Pump
Miniature Stretchable Pump

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over rigid robots: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects, and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber, or other stretchable polymers,...

Miniature Stretchable Pump