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.

Application Briefs : Imaging
Optical Bonding of Automotive Smart Surfaces
Optical Bonding of Automotive Smart Surfaces

Behr Hella Thermo Control (BHTC) of Lippstadt, Germany, manufactures automotive interior components. As the demand for smarter cars increases, BHTC encountered a new automotive interior challenge:...

Optical Bonding of Automotive Smart Surfaces
Articles : Motion Control
Driver Design in Piezoelectric Motors
Driver Design in Piezoelectric Motors

For most electrical engineers, the simple term “motor” means one thing: an electromagnetic rotary-motion unit. Engineers who need linear rather than rotary motion consider adding a mechanical linkage...

Driver Design in Piezoelectric Motors
Application Briefs : Motion Control
Simplifying Cloud-Based Remote Access and Data Logging
Simplifying Cloud-Based Remote Access and Data Logging

Smart manufacturing capabilities should be built into machines, particularly those with advanced functionality such as motion control. Even if the factory is not currently connected to...

Simplifying Cloud-Based Remote Access and Data Logging
Briefs : Energy
Electrical Requirements for Direct Current Electric Actuators
Electrical Requirements for Direct Current Electric Actuators

Servo control systems require accurate control of motion parameters such as acceleration, velocity, and position. This requires a controller that can apply current (torque) to...

Electrical Requirements for Direct Current Electric Actuators
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hydraulically Amplified Actuators
Hydraulically Amplified Actuators

Soft robots are made from soft materials that react to applied voltage with a wide range of motions. Such soft robots contain tremendous potential for future applications, as they adapt to dynamic...

Hydraulically Amplified Actuators
Briefs : Software
Metamaterial Converts Linear Compression Forces into a Rotational Movement
Metamaterial Converts Linear Compression Forces into a Rotational Movement

Using 3D printers, researchers have created a metamaterial from cubic building blocks that responds to compression forces by a rotation. Usually, this can only be...

Metamaterial Converts Linear Compression Forces into a Rotational Movement
Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: February 2018 Motion Design
New Products: February 2018 Motion Design

Ring Motor

ThinGap (Camarillo, CA) introduced the PM model TGO77 large-bore compact ring motor for precision and highspeed applications. The brushless, frameless motor has an outside...

New Products: February 2018 Motion Design
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Software Brings Movement to Linear Actuators
Software Brings Movement to Linear Actuators

Linear actuator manufacturers have a history of strong mechanical design expertise, which is the core of any linear actuation; however, giving motion to modern powered equipment goes beyond a...

Software Brings Movement to Linear Actuators
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Strengthening Data Cabling for Next-Generation Motion Control Applications
Strengthening Data Cabling for Next-Generation Motion Control Applications

The wide variety of industrial applications each independently calls for a level of robustness from the physical (PHY) layer, all the way up to applications. Time...

Strengthening Data Cabling for Next-Generation Motion Control Applications
Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
New on the Market: February 2018
New on the Market: February 2018

Product of the Month

Fluke Corp., Everett, WA, introduced the Fluke 3560 FC Vibration Sensors and Fluke 3502 FC Gateway for equipment vibration analysis. The sensors enable remote capture of...

New on the Market: February 2018
INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Propulsion for Nanorobots
Electric Propulsion for Nanorobots

Scientists have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. Traditional nanobots take minutes to carry out actions, sometimes even hours. Therefore, efficient molecular assembly lines...

Electric Propulsion for Nanorobots
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
And on That Farm He Had a…Robot?
And on That Farm He Had a…Robot?
Farmers in Europe are increasingly turning to robotic weeders. A specialist from University of California, Davis tested out the technologies.
And on That Farm He Had a…Robot?
News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee
Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee

Cornell University engineers have been experimenting with a new type of programming that mimics the mind of an insect.

Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Products of Tomorrow: January 2018
Products of Tomorrow: January 2018

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...

Products of Tomorrow: January 2018
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Flexible “Skin” Senses Shear Force
Flexible “Skin” Senses Shear Force

To date, it has been difficult or impossible for most robotic and prosthetic hands to accurately sense the vibrations and shear forces that occur, for example, when a finger is sliding along a tabletop,...

Flexible “Skin” Senses Shear Force
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Software Improves Ability of Robots to Communicate with Humans
Software Improves Ability of Robots to Communicate with Humans

A software system was developed that helps robots more effectively act on spoken instructions — no matter how abstract or specific those instructions may be — from people who...

Software Improves Ability of Robots to Communicate with Humans
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Transparent, Hydrogel-Based Robots Move When Inflated with Water
Transparent, Hydrogel-Based Robots Move When Inflated with Water

Engineers have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. They are made entirely of hydrogel — a tough, rubbery, nearly...

Transparent, Hydrogel-Based Robots Move When Inflated with Water
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
System Enables Robots to Understand Contextual Commands

Today’s robots can accomplish many repetitive tasks, but their inability to understand the nuances of human language makes them mostly useless for more complicated requests. For example, if a specific tool is placed in a toolbox and a robot is asked to “pick it up,” it would be...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Controlling Soft Robots Using Magnetic Fields
Controlling Soft Robots Using Magnetic Fields

A fundamental advance in controlling soft robots involves using magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices. Several devices have been developed...

Controlling Soft Robots Using Magnetic Fields
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Evolving and Controlling Behaviors in a Computation-Free Robot Swarm

Flocks of birds, schools of fish, and colonies of ants exhibit a remarkable robustness and resilience, despite the limited capabilities of each individual. Recently, research into bio-inspired swarm robotics has been gaining popularity due to the low-cost, robust, redundant,...

News : Electronics & Computers
Artificial 'Skin' Gives Robotic Hand A Sense Of Touch
Artificial 'Skin' Gives Robotic Hand A Sense Of Touch

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the...

Artificial 'Skin' Gives Robotic Hand A Sense Of Touch
Briefs : Motion Control
Vacuum System Powers Modular Soft Robot
Vacuum System Powers Modular Soft Robot

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created the first functional robot powered entirely by vacuum. It is made of soft building blocks that move by having air sucked...

Vacuum System Powers Modular Soft Robot
Application Briefs : Motion Control
Pick-and-Place System Delivers Improved Productivity and Safety
Pick-and-Place System Delivers Improved Productivity and Safety

Deciding between a gantry and a robot for your application isn’t always as clear-cut as it may seem. To automate a simple, yet time-consuming and potentially dangerous task in...

Pick-and-Place System Delivers Improved Productivity and Safety
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Trends in Hydraulic Filtration
Trends in Hydraulic Filtration

Proper filtration plays an important role in ensuring that hydraulic systems operate trouble-free. High-performance filters maintain the cleanliness of the hydraulic fluid over its entire service life. In...

Trends in Hydraulic Filtration
Application Briefs : Motion Control
Miniature Linear Bearings Help Prolong Curiosity’s Mars Mission
Miniature Linear Bearings Help Prolong Curiosity’s Mars Mission

The launch, landing, and overall mission of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is arguably one of the most daring — and successful — space exploration endeavors ever...

Miniature Linear Bearings Help Prolong Curiosity’s Mars Mission
Briefs : Motion Control
Soft Robotic Gripper Manipulates Objects Without Training
Soft Robotic Gripper Manipulates Objects Without Training

An engineering team at the University of California San Diego has designed and built a gripper that can pick up and manipulate objects without needing to see them and without being...

Soft Robotic Gripper Manipulates Objects Without Training
Briefs : Motion Control
Multi-Legged Robot Reconfigures in Real Time
Multi-Legged Robot Reconfigures in Real Time

Scientists at Disney Research have developed a modular, reconfigurable legged robot named Snapbot that can move forward, interact with its environment, and perform other tasks based on a number of...

Multi-Legged Robot Reconfigures in Real Time
Products : Electronics & Computers
New Products: December 2017 Motion Design
New Products: December 2017 Motion Design

Corrosion-Resistant Valve

GF Piping Systems (Irvine, CA) introduced a corrosion-resistant pneumatic diaphragm valve for highly corrosive dosing and open/close applications. The Type 604/605...

New Products: December 2017 Motion Design
Briefs : Motion Control
Paper-Folding Techniques Expand Compacted Spacecraft
Paper-Folding Techniques Expand Compacted Spacecraft

Origami has once again inspired engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Besides aesthetic beauty, the Japanese tradition of paper-folding addresses a persistent problem...

Paper-Folding Techniques Expand Compacted Spacecraft
Briefs : Motion Control
Webb Telescope Actuators Move with Microscopic Accuracy
Webb Telescope Actuators Move with Microscopic Accuracy

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. With a 21-foot diameter, the telescope’s primary mirror is six times larger than the one used by...

Webb Telescope Actuators Move with Microscopic Accuracy