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.

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Will ‘Developable Mechanisms’ Solve Complex Tasks?

Brigham Young University engineers have created "developable mechanisms" that they hope to use in components like surgical instruments, adjustable airplane wings, robotic arms, or vehicle cylinders. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV, to see how the flat shapes can be converted into 3D...

Blog: Motion Control
Even a shape-morphing plane is possible, says Harvard's Ehsan Hajiesmaili.
Briefs: Motion Control

Researchers have created a two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet that moves autonomously in a reactant-filled fluid. The integrated system utilizes a chemical reaction to activate the fluid...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Briefs: Software

A novel foot-pedal-operated system and device were developed to control translational and rotational movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The Foot Pedal Controller system enables operators to control...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Motor Control Integrated Circuit

Microsemi Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology (Aliso Viejo, CA), announced the LX7720 radiation-tolerant motor control integrated...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control

Different types of motion encountered in dynamic environments require designers to specify connectors for boards, wiring, and devices that can meet significant g-forces,...

Application Briefs: Aerospace

Robots are helping a European airplane manufacturer cut into an eight-year backlog of orders for one of its most popular aircraft.

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Integrating lead screws with stepper motors is a simple and cost-effective method for getting precise linear motion. But achieving that precision requires...

Briefs: Communications

Hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes without an underlying master plan, purely based on local communication and movement. To achieve this, the biological...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

For patients missing a hand, one of the biggest challenges to regaining a high level of function is the inability to rotate one's wrist (pronate and supinate). These are essential movements...

Briefs: Imaging

Numerous devices in everyday life use computerized cameras to identify objects — think of automated teller machines that can “read” handwritten dollar amounts when...

Facility Focus: Green Design & Manufacturing

The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) — located in Aiken, SC — is the applied research and development laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A simple, inexpensive method uses ultraviolet light to control particle motion and assembly within liquids. The method encourages particles to gather and organize at a specific location within a...

INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping

North Carolina State created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water. The structures can grab small objects and carry water...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Can AI Prevent Famine?

Today's INSIDER story demonstrated how artificial intelligence models are being used to mark areas most in need of famine relief and funding. Ed Hsu from the World Bank spoke at CES last week about his collaboration with AI heavyweights Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Briefs: Medical

Infrared motion detectors can cover only a limited amount of space, a person has to be within the detector's line of sight to be detected, and lights can go off when a person remains...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Soft, 3D-printed structures have been created whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The structures that can be magnetically manipulated...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

In traditional hardwired avionics systems, sensor integration requires installation of literally tons of physical cable that significantly increases vehicle weight and the...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machines can be susceptible to tow-tape defects such as gaps and overlaps. These can reduce strength between 7% and 32%....

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

A controllable material was developed that can transform into complex, pre-programmed shapes via light and temperature stimuli, allowing it to morph into a different shape before fully...

Briefs: Medical

Researchers have developed a customizable soft robot that fits around a heart and helps it beat, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart...

Facility Focus: Aerospace

NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) has been a leader in human space exploration for more than half a century. Established in 1961 in Houston, TX as the Manned Spacecraft Center, the center...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Painting of surfaces having numerous facets and/or curved surfaces is a time-consuming process that requires the application of several coats (layers) of paint. Such surfaces are often found on...

INSIDER: Motion Control
NASA’s InSight lander has provided the first ever "sounds" of Martian winds on the Red Planet. Sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between...
INSIDER: Motion Control

A new artificial joint restores important wrist-like movements to forearm amputees. In the new joint, an implant is placed into each of the two bones of the forearm and a wrist-like...

Application Briefs: Transportation

Materials testing and characterization is often a lengthy process. It can take more than a year and billions of testing cycles for a manufacturer to characterize the properties of a new...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Gyroscopes are devices that help vehicles, drones, and wearable and handheld electronic devices know their orientation in three-dimensional space. Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, each spinning...

Application Briefs: Transportation

There are few industries where the demands for material testing and quality assurance are more challenging than in the aerospace industry. Ensuring the safety of all...

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