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.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will SpaceBok Someday Reach the Moon?

Our lead story today highlights the jumping space robot known as SpaceBok.

“We are at the stage where we want to go into more challenging environments: caves, craters, highlands, areas in which we would find water or other volatiles, or information about the geological history of a certain...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA’s Robot Hotel Gets Its Occupants

A protective storage unit for robotic tools called Robotic Tool Stowage (RiTS) was among the items launched to the International Space Station last December as part of SpaceX’s resupply services...

On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Bin Picking for Cobots: Is It Finally Here?

Bin picking comes in many shapes and sizes, from high payload automotive and heavy equipment manufacturing applications, to pick and drop e-commerce order fulfillment and part...

Hendrik Kolvenbach sees the best way to get around on the moon as less of a step and more of a giant leap. Learn how Hendrik created a jumping space robot called Spacebok.
Application Briefs: Test & Measurement
Valve Leakage Detection in Industrial Pumps

As an integral part of onshore and offshore drilling, mud pumps circulate drilling fluids to facilitate drilling oil and natural gas wells. Mud pumps stabilize pressure and support the well during...

This approach could be used to cost-effectively make soft robots and wearable technologies.
When inspecting products for instance, machine vision is not only faster but also far more accurate.
Application Briefs: Materials
Traverse System Enables Vertical Farming
See how a system feeds plants, delivering about 5,417 gallons of water per hour.
Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Wiegand Wire: Energy Harvesting and More
With the emergence of a new generation of ultra-efficient electronic chips, the Wiegand technology is showing significant promise, especially in the exciting area of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Briefs: Motion Control
Gripper Handles Freely Moving Cables
The gripper’s soft, sensitive fingers could enable robots to help with tying knots, wire shaping, or surgical suturing.
Briefs: Unmanned Systems
Wireless Aquatic Robot Cleans Water
Inspired by a coral polyp, this plastic mini robot moves by magnetism and light.
Complex locomotion techniques enable the rover to climb hills covered with soft granular material.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Feet Help Robots Walk Faster
This technology can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips.
Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: August 2020 Motion Design
Positioning devices, vibration transmitters, brushless DC motors, and more.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid-Filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper
Applications include absorbers, tuned mass dampers, harmonic absorbers, and seismic dampers.
A new method manufactures complex shapeshifters for soft robots and biomedical implants.
See how "APL" is developing ways to ensure the safety and performance of autonomous systems.
An ultrafast image sensor with a built-in neural network can be trained to recognize certain objects.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wearable Strain Sensor Using Light Transmittance
This technology shows potential for the detection of subtle human motions and the real-time monitoring of body postures for healthcare applications.
The sensor has applications in fields such as robotics, healthcare, and security.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Pseudo-Random Coding Technique for 3D Imaging
This technique offers enhanced resolution and improved system reliability for mapping and obstacle recognition and navigation for vehicles.
Multiple commercial applications include defense, search and rescue, and disaster relief.
On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control
Collaborative Robotics: Sharing the Workspace

Manufacturing robots were kept in cages previously, programmed by specialists, and often used for a single task. Today’s collaborative robots are being used by manufacturers to automate...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Watch: The Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch

Watch below as the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter make their way to Mars.

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Human-Like Hands with Flexible, Hybrid Actuators

In industrial settings, robots often are used for tasks that require repetitive grasping and manipulation of objects. A humanoid hand design that is a soft-hard hybrid flexible gripper can...

INSIDER: Motion Control
Self-Latching Piezocomposite Actuator

NASA Langley has developed a self-latching piezocomposite actuator with power-off, set-and-hold capability. If integrated into an aerodynamic control surface or engine inlet, deflections could be...

Mars 2020 NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other NASA experts offer a briefing on this week's launch of the Perseverance rover.
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Watch: NASA's Mars 2020 Sample Return Briefing

Watch below as NASA experts review how they plan to return samples from the surface of Mars back to Earth.

In the past 24 months, there has been increased skepticism regarding the ability of the automotive industry to deliver fully functional Level 3...

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