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.

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
A new app opens up robotics to a large user base.
Editor Bruce A. Bennett takes us through the unusual — and completely unexpected —at this year's LASER World of Photonics.
INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Tool Tells Robots Where Nearby Humans are Headed

On a factory floor, robots are programmed to stop momentarily if a person passes by. The robot often freezes in place long before a person crosses its path. While robots can predict where...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Microbots Like HAMR-E Improve Search and Rescue?

Researchers from Harvard University's Wyss Institute created a 1.5-gram microbot called HAMR-E.

White Papers: Test & Measurement
Get Ready for Factory Intelligence

Successful medical manufacturing depends on speed, accuracy and efficiency. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through seamless collaboration between people and machines — also...

Podcasts: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Here's an Idea: Candy
In this episode of Here's an Idea, we explore how candy manufacturers large and small turn to technology to support their newest, sweetest ideas.

While robots like the WildCat from Boston Dynamics reach speeds of just under 20 miles an hour, engineers from Georgia Tech have gone with a decidedly slower approach.

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
New Products: June 2019 Motion Design
Rotary Ball Spline

NB Corporation of America (Hanover Park, IL) released a rotary ball spline that can be used for both rotational and linear motion. Applications include SCARA robots, the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Snake-Inspired Robot

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

In discussing fatigue life, it is important to distinguish between disc springs and conical spring washers, as they differ by design and intended usage. Conical spring washers are...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion

Employing fluid power to achieve mechanical motion can be implemented via hydraulics using uncompressible liquids or via pneumatics using compressible gasses; typically, air. The latter provides several...

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

A new learning system improves a robot’s ability to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a...

Articles: Photonics/Optics
Vision Sensors in Factory Automation

There are a number of ways to extract data from a production line. In factory automation, sensors are used in work cells to gather data for inspection or to trigger other devices. These sensors fall into...

Briefs: Motion Control
Gear Bearings

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed gear bearing technology that combines gear and bearing functions into a single unit that significantly improves gear drives for electrical, internal combustion, and turbine motors. The...

EMAG L.L.C. is the U.S. subsidiary of a major German machine tool builder that specializes in machine tools for the production of automotive, off-highway, agricultural, and oil field...

Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair

For wheelchair users, the feeling of uneven ground can seem all too familiar. Determined to make ride discomfort a thing of the past, Israel-based SoftWheel has completely reinvented the wheel for a...

Back pain is inevitable with constrained posture over a number of hours. Permanent damage such as premature spine wear is not uncommon in people who do not adopt proper ergonomic...

Briefs: Motion Control
Improved Directed Flux Motor

Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight,...

Briefs: Propulsion
Double-Fed Induction Linear Alternator

This technology was developed to address the limitations of traditional, single-fed linear alternators that require permanent magnets, adhesive bonding organics, and heavy iron laminations for flux control. They experience eddy-current losses and require electromagnetic interference protection. Furthermore,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary Electrical Contact

Researchers have developed a fundamentally new type of rotary electrical contact that addresses the two limitations of conventional brush/slip ring technology: 1) short operating lifetime due to sliding-contact...

Products: Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: June 2019
Code Generator

dSPACE, Wixom, MI, offers Version 4.4 of TargetLink code generator software that features controller modeling with MATLAB® code from MathWorks. It describes algorithms and...

Advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous drive technologies increase the complexity of automotive integrated circuits (ICs), making it harder to ensure that...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Key Factors to Consider When Designing a Smart Factory

In recent years, the emergence of Industry 4.0 has been steadily transforming the manufacturing sector into an ultra-high-tech industry. Innovative smart technologies such as robotics,...

Ian Y. Wong, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Engineering, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology at Brown University in Providence, RI. He and colleagues have...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Stretchable, Rubbery Semiconductors

Researchers have created stretchable, rubbery semiconductors including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits, and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials. The semiconductors have...

INSIDER: Motion Control
Changing How Sound Moves Particles

Researchers at Aalto University have discovered a surprising phenomenon that changes how we think about how sound can move particles. Their experiment is based on an experiment in which particles move...

INSIDER: Motion Control
“Knitting” Soft Actuators

Carnegie Mellon University researchers used computationally controlled knitting machines to create knitted objects that are actuated by tendons. The objects emerge from the knitting machines in their desired...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls

Doctoral Programs student Ayato Kanada came up with his leech-like robot in a place you’d least expect it: His bathroom.

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