Motion Control/​Automation

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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.

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

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

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...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars 2020 NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other NASA experts offer a briefing on this week's launch of the Perseverance rover.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control

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

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Can NASA "joystick" the landing of the next Mars rover? A Tech Briefs reader asks our NASA expert.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
We plug in our headphones everyday. Now a robot can perform the task.
Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will ‘Roboats’ Catch On?

Our July issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a fleet of “roboats” that could someday transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.

The Roboat autonomous robotic boats — rectangular hulls equipped with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, GPS modules, cameras, and other...

Blog: Unmanned Systems
A tiny underwater robot may someday filter out water contaminants by catching them with its tentacles.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
The Mars rover Perseverance has a helicopter. Will the rover have to carry it around?
Podcasts: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ben Jennet is a PhD student at MIT and a former space research fellow at NASA. He is working with NASA to develop a new kind of aircraft wing that's flexible and changes mid-flight.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Bio-Inspired Propulsion
Frequencies and passive dynamics of vehicles moving in air or water help enhance propulsion performance.
Briefs: Imaging
A fleet of “roboats” could transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.
Articles: Lighting
In-line testing of certain LEDs, using nanosecond pulses, will become more and more relevant with time-of-flight applications.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
A new low-cost imaging system could make it easier to track mosquito species that carry disease, enabling a more timely and targeted response.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Sensors in the hand can actually detect forces being transmitted through the thickness of the robot.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The device provides quick results and gives healthcare workers more time to treat patients in hospitals and other settings.
Briefs: Energy
An automated system cuts the energy required for training and running neural networks.
Special Reports: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Exploring Mars - July 2020

As NASA prepares this week to launch its latest robotic rover to the Red Planet, we are excited to present this commemorative publication chronicling – through historic images and video – six decades of Mars...

Facility Focus: Robotics, Automation & Control
NIBIB is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care.
INSIDER: Motion Control

The smallest motor in the world — consisting of just 16 atoms – measures less than one nanometer or about 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The rotor rotates on the surface of the...

Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A reader asks NASA experts: How much hardware from the Curiosity rover is being used on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover?
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Traditional robotic feet are made of rigid components. A team of engineers at UCSD turned to coffee grounds to make legged robots more flexible and able to walk on a variety of rough terrain.
INSIDER: Energy

A new metal-air scavenger works like a battery, in that it provides power by repeatedly breaking and forming a series of chemical bonds. But it also works like a harvester,...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Challenges in Designing and Manufacturing Sensors for Robotic Surgery

The design and manufacture of a haptic feedback sensor for a robotic surgery platform entails two distinct but complementary aspects: overcoming technical obstacles of...

Articles: Materials
New measurement methodologies can save you time that would otherwise be wasted on returning and reordering bearing.
Briefs: Imaging
This program provides a relative navigation capability for spacecraft, remotely operated terrestrial vehicles, and machine vision.
Articles: Materials
Taking a holistic approach to sealing systems in hydraulic systems using chrome alternatives helps engineers achieve optimum function.
Briefs: Motion Control
Combined muscles and sensors made from soft materials allow for adaptable robots.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
This type of energy source could be the basis for robots that seek out and “eat” metal, breaking down its chemical bonds for energy like humans do with food.

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