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.

Articles : Materials
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Automotive/Transportation Category Winner
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Automotive/Transportation Category Winner

ISCAD — ELECTRICAL DRIVE WITH 0% RARE EARTHS, 25% HIGHER DRIVING RANGE, AND 100% SAFETY

Conventional electrical machines suffer from the problem that...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Automotive/Transportation Category Winner
Articles : Aerospace
Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT
Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) applications — whether for city infrastructures, factories, or wearable devices — use large arrays of sensors collecting data for transmission over the Internet to a central,...

Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT
Articles : Transportation
2018 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section
2018 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section

The Create the Future Design Contest was launched in 2002 by Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of Tech Briefs magazine) to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. Since...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section
Briefs : Data Acquisition
A Biologically Inspired Method of Improving Systems and Survivability Through Self-Sacrifice

In human beings, the self-destruction behavior of human body cells is considered as an intrinsic safety mechanism of the human body. It seems that the lifetime of a cell is programmed, and that cells know when to commit suicide. This self-destruction is...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration
Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration

Robots that are adapted to respond to physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) traditionally treat such interactions as disturbances, and resume their original behaviors when the...

Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment
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...

Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment
Articles : Software
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics/Sensors/IOT Category Winner
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...
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics/Sensors/IOT Category Winner
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing Category Winner
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...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing Category Winner
Articles : Materials
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner
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...
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner
INSIDER : Motion Control
Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm
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...

Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
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.
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Motion Control in Factories: Choosing the Right Solution
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...

Motion Control in Factories: Choosing the Right Solution
Briefs : Motion Control
Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously
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...

Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Single-Axis Motion Control Systems: Multi-Sourced vs. Single-Sourced
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...

Single-Axis Motion Control Systems: Multi-Sourced vs. Single-Sourced
Briefs : Medical
Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators
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...

Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks
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...

Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks
Application Briefs : Imaging
Unique Lift System Enables Installation and Servicing of Large Telescope Mirrors
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...

Unique Lift System Enables Installation and Servicing of Large Telescope Mirrors
Products : Motion Control
New Products: October 2018 Motion Design
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...

New Products: October 2018 Motion Design
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Compact, High-Resolution Rotary Position Sensor
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...

Compact, High-Resolution Rotary Position Sensor
Articles : Aerospace
NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery
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,...

NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery
Articles : Electronics & Computers
NASA at 60: From Space to Earth
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...

NASA at 60: From Space to Earth
Briefs : Materials
Engineering Soft Materials that Mimic Neural Tissue
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...

Engineering Soft Materials that Mimic Neural Tissue
Articles : Test & Measurement
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.

Briefs : Aerospace
Insect-Inspired Drone Deforms Upon Impact
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...

Insect-Inspired Drone Deforms Upon Impact
Briefs : Materials
Hybrid Silicone-Fabric Sensor for Wearable Robots
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,...

Hybrid Silicone-Fabric Sensor for Wearable Robots
Blog : Aerospace
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
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.”
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
INSIDER : Motion Control
Controlling Nanomotors with Light
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...

Controlling Nanomotors with Light
Blog : Test & Measurement
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
A NASA researcher spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of the Curiosity rover's latest find on Mars.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
News : Test & Measurement
Fleet of Aerial, Surface, and Underwater Robots Map Ocean Front

Using multiple autonomous vehicles simultaneously, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers returns to the U.S. after exploring the North Pacific Subtropical front – a sharp boundary where cold fresh waters from the north meet warm salty waters from the south. The...

Articles : Automotive
The Expanding Role of Sensors in the IoT/IIoT
The Expanding Role of Sensors in the IoT/IIoT

The increasing variety of applications for the Internet of Things is driving predictions that the sales volume for sensors will reach 75 billion units by 2025. Applications unforeseen just five...

The Expanding Role of Sensors in the IoT/IIoT