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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Facility Focus: Semiconductors & ICs
Explore Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's first space flight complex.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Filaments with embedded circuitry can be used to print complex shapes for biomedical and robotic devices.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The flat structure morphs into another shape when temperature changes, enabling self-deploying tents or adaptive robotic fins.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Cornell researcher T.J. Wallin explains what's so cool about a robot that sweats.
INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

An engineering model of the VIPER lunar rover is being tested at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. About the size of a golf cart, VIPER is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s South Pole...

INSIDER: Motion Control

Cells are observed to “crawl” by attaching themselves to a surface and using these anchor points to push themselves forward (like crawling on the ground). Scientists have identified a different...

Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A fun way to show the robustness of a soft robot? Swat it.
Briefs: Motion Control
This microbot can walk on land, swim, and walk underwater.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Loosely connected disc-shaped “particles” can push and pull one another, moving together to transport objects.
Briefs: Energy
These stickers wirelessly beam health readings to a receiver clipped onto clothing.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
An upgraded mini robot can leap over obstacles with ease.
Special Reports: Motion Control
CONEXPO/IFPE - January 2020

Coming to Las Vegas in March, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE are North America's largest events for the construction/commercial vehicle, fluid power, power transmission, and motion control industries. In this Special...

Briefs: Energy
Electric motors and gas-alcohol engines could slash pollution levels and greenhouse gases from long-haul trucks.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A system senses tiny changes in shadows on the ground to determine if there’s a moving object coming around the corner.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Various components are used to assemble robots that are more aware of their surroundings.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
This microrobot with soft actuators can crash, fall, and collide without being damaged.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
If a satellite breaks in orbit, there's not much that can be done. A professor envisions a new idea for refueling and repair.
Blog: Electronics & Computers

Tech Briefs in 2019 celebrated historic NASA anniversaries, new ways to power electronics, and innovative hacks of our “smartest” technologies.

INSIDER: Motion Control

Researchers developed a microrobot that measures a few micrometers across and resembles a paper bird made with origami. It flaps its wings or bends its neck and retracts its head via...

Articles: Motion Control
“Cobots” allow companies of almost any size to automate processes that were previously out of reach.
Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Sensing technology will help to transform manufacturing floors into the connected factories of the future.
Briefs: Aerospace
A technology uses a combination of WiFi signals and accelerometer technology to track devices in near-real-time.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
A synthetic skin enables robots to sense their own bodies and surroundings
Briefs: Transportation
Researchers have developed a self-contained wheel unit that combines a wheel and an electric motor.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The technology can be used in commercial motors, robotic systems, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Application Briefs: Motion Control
The ESA has commissioned its industry partners to design a new docking system called the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM).
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The algorithm speeds up the planning process that robots use to adjust their grip on objects.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.