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.

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,...

A vortex in the atmosphere can churn with enough power to create a typhoon. But more subtle vortices form constantly in nature. Many of them are too small to be seen with the naked eye....

INSIDER: Motion Control
Printing a Better Actuator

One technology uses magnetic fields to generate mechanical work. The other enhances the magnetic properties of 3D-printed materials. Combined, they could lead to efficient, economical production of magnetic...

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...

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...

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...

Articles: Motion Control
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...

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...

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...

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...

Products: Electronics & Computers
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...

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...

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...

A team of engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign built a new kind of crawler robot. The wheel-less design takes inspiration from two unconventional...

The Create the Future Design Contest has helped stimulate and reward engineering innovation over the past 16 years, drawing more than 14,000 product designs from engineers, students, and...

Facility Focus: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA, has been operated by Battelle and its predecessors since the lab’s inception in 1965. For more than 50...

Researchers from Florida State University developed a class of motion sensors made using buckypaper. The new technology is versatile, and the sensors are affordable to print.

Scientists at the University of Exeter have discovered a technique to transform ambient heat into motion in nanoscale devices. This thermal ratchet is made from a material known as “artificial...

Using a commercial printer and some silver ink, researchers from Florida State University have found a novel way of producing motion sensors en masse. The low-profile...

Actuators are a critical driver of all the mechanisms used in space, and improvements of their operation mechanism enhance mission...

An industrial-class excavator was developed for use on the Moon and perhaps on Mars. The model mobility platform uses Ackerman Steering with active drives on all six...

Robots in production lines work with micrometer precision, unless a component fails. If, for example, the linear actuator used to precisely position a car body in front of an...

EJBot: Versatile Climbing Robot for Industrial Vessel Inspection Dr. Mohamed Gouda Alkalla and Mohamed Fanni
Mansoura University
Mansoura, Ad-daqahliyah, Egypt...
NASA Spinoff: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mineral Analyzer Shakes Answers Out of Soil and Rocks

On the Curiosity rover, a tool called CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) is helping scientists determine what minerals make up the Martian landscape, and whether single-celled or more...

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...

Articles: Imaging
2017 Create the Future Design Contest Special Awards Section

The Create the Future Design Contest was launched 16 years ago by Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of Tech Briefs magazine) to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. Since then, the annual contest has drawn more than 14,000 product design ideas from engineers, students,...

Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Trick or Treat: Spooky Space Sounds from NASA, and 7 Techs that Creep and Crawl

Getting into the Halloween spirit, NASA released a collection of the spookiest sounds ever recorded by the agency's spacecraft instruments. Captured radio emissions reveal whistling helium, howling planets, and other mysterious noises from the depths of space.

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...

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

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Metal Injection Molding’s Role in Automotive

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Technical Ceramics: The Powerhouse of Advanced Materials

Upcoming Webinars: Software

PPAP Reviews Using AI and Machine Learning

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

2020 Create the Future Contest Awards

Upcoming Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Advancement of Spectrum Analysis Techniques for Tracking,...

Videos