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 : Nanotechnology
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment

Colloids — insoluble particles or molecules anywhere from a billionth to a millionth of a meter across — are so small they can stay suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air. Robots about...

Articles : Data Acquisition
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics/Sensors/IOT Category Winner

FUTURE ANTENNA MINIATURIZATION MECHANISM: MAGNETOELECTRIC ANTENNAS

Hwaider Lin and Nian-Xiang Sun, Northeastern University, Boston, MA...
Articles : Materials
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing Category Winner

DON’T MELT. MELD.™

The MELD™ technology enables additive manufacturing (AM) of metals. This patented process is unique because there is...

Articles : Green Design & Manufacturing
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

AEROGELS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL WASTES FOR NOVEL ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS

Associate Prof. Hai Minh Duong and Prof. Nhan Phan-Thien, National University of...
White Papers : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Using Accelerated Tests to Compare Recurring Leakages in Rotary Shaft Seals

Danfoss Power Solutions designed a test to optimize the shaft seal design for the Orbital X product series — meaning customers can be confident in expecting less occurrences of leakage in the field. They targeted specific components of the Orbital X motors to find...

INSIDER : Motion Control
Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm

An unexpected source recently identified a global Martian dust storm. The source was an actuator, or motor, that powers a lid to a funnel that takes in samples of powdered Martian...

White Papers : Medical
Benefits of Automating Medical Device Manufacturing

Medical devices are specialized and often highly engineered products that must be produced according to tight health and safety regulations while delivering an acceptable return on investment. A key strategy is to automate the production of medical devices. Industrial automation has spread to...

White Papers : Motion Control
Motion System Causing You Pain?

Putting together a motion control system that meets your requirements for speed, accuracy, and flexibility can often be a challenge. Many factors play a role in the sizing and selection of each element of the system, including the actuator. Cycle time, required thrust, and life expectancy are a few of the major...

Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Rivers Ingersoll spoke with Tech Briefs about why it is so important to have an up-close understanding of the hummingbird and nectar bat.
Articles : Motion Control
Motion Control in Factories: Choosing the Right Solution

The need for Ethernet-based communication within the factory has grown over the past 10 years. Detailed information about the tasks and performance of machines at every stage is...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously

A technique was developed to quickly teach robots novel traversal behaviors with minimal human oversight. The technique allows mobile robot platforms to navigate autonomously in...

Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Single-Axis Motion Control Systems: Multi-Sourced vs. Single-Sourced

In today’s fast-paced industrial settings, speed and efficiency are key. Reducing time spent on sourcing, installing, and testing motion control systems can play a big...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators

When heated, popcorn can expand more than 10 times in size, change its viscosity by a factor of 10, and transition from regular to highly irregular granules with surprising force. These unique qualities can...

Briefs : Motion Control
Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks

Given the exact parameters of the task at hand, a robot can assemble a car door or pack a box faster and more efficiently than a human, but such purpose-built machines are not...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Unique Lift System Enables Installation and Servicing of Large Telescope Mirrors

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), under construction atop 8,737-foot El Peñón peak in northern Chile, is a partnership project of the National...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
New Products: October 2018 Motion Design

Multi-Voltage Motors

Simotics SD Pro low-voltage motors from Siemens (Munich, Germany) are suited for mains-fed operation or with a converter for voltages up to 690 volts. There is generally...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Compact, High-Resolution Rotary Position Sensor

It is often desirable to sense the angular position of a rotating part. Numerous kinds of rotation sensors have been developed over the years; one type is a capacitive sensor, where a...

Articles : Aerospace
NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery

For six decades, NASA has led the peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe. At home, NASA research has made great advances in aviation,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Engineering Soft Materials that Mimic Neural Tissue

A process for engineering next-generation soft materials with embedded chemical networks that mimic the behavior of neural tissue lays the foundation for soft active matter with highly...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
NASA at 60: Celebrating Success

Over the past 60 years, NASA scientists and engineers have developed many advanced technologies and processes. But NASA has also partnered with industry, using commercially available products to complete its missions. Here, some of those companies join NASA in celebrating these collaborative successes.

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA at 60: From Space to Earth

The benefits of NASA's space exploration efforts are not limited to the cosmos. NASA technologies provide innovative solutions for people around the world. NASA missions have generated thousands of spinoffs...

Briefs : Aerospace
Insect-Inspired Drone Deforms Upon Impact

Origami manufacturing has led to considerable advances in the field of foldable structures with innovative applications in robotics, aerospace, and metamaterials; however, existing origami are either...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Hybrid Silicone-Fabric Sensor for Wearable Robots

Wearable technologies are exploding in popularity in both the consumer and research spaces, but most of the electronic sensors that detect and transmit data from wearables are made of hard,...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Why is this fuel cell producing less power?

One of the factors limiting fuel cell efficiency is its ability to promote the oxygen reduction reaction at the cathode. If the level of carbonate on the cells surface is too high it can create a barrier which hinders fuel cell performance. These carbonates have a detrimental effect on the oxygen...

White Papers : Medical
Using Standard Isolators to Control Unwanted Machine Vibration

From small medical pumps to large diesel engines, vibration is unavoidable. It fatigues and damages equipment over time, increases operating costs and generates unwanted noise. But there are ways to minimize its harmful effects using properly designed isolators and machine...

Blog : Data Acquisition
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
NASA's Lindley Johnson explains how the exciting business of asteroid detection does have its moments that are “like any other office job.”
INSIDER : Motion Control
Controlling Nanomotors with Light

Engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed the first method for selecting and switching the mechanical motion of nanomotors among multiple modes with simple visible light as the...

Videos : Robotics, Automation & Control
Gaze-Tracking Glasses Control Drone to Fly Wherever You Look

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and New York University have developed a pair of lightweight gaze-tracking glasses and a...

White Papers : Sensors/Data Acquisition
The Importance of Precision and Specifications in Torque Sensors

A torque sensor, also known as a torque meter or a torque transducer, is a device that measures the torque in a rotating system. This white paper examines why accurate torque sensors are critical to the development and testing of products such as motors, compressors, pumps or any...

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Understand Connector Selection to Avoid Downtime

The right connectors will eliminate downtime on a busy production line. But with the thousands of connectors currently on the market, even experienced engineers can find it difficult to select the right one for the job. This paper explores how you can minimize this connector confusion using four...

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