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.

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Severe-Environment Motors

Marathon Motors (Wausau, WI) introduced totally enclosed air-over (TEAO) cooling tower motors with Bearing Current Protection (BCP) using AEGIS® Shaft Grounding Rings. The NEMA Premium Severe-Duty motors feature BlueChip® cast iron construction for rigidity and reduced vibration. With internal and external epoxy...

Products : Motion Control
High-Torque Drives

Schneider Electric Motion USA (Marlborough, CT) offers Lexium MDrive NEMA size 23 drives with high-torque stepper motors as an alternative to standard motors. Closed loop performance of the drives eliminates possible motor stalling, and delivers continuous torque at low speeds. It eliminates tuning, and reduces heat and energy...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Tables

EXSYS Tool (San Antonio, FL) offers pL LEHMANN 500 series ultra-high-precision rotary tables. The modular, multi-axis rotary tables allow users to upgrade a vertical machining center without incurring the expense of a new machine. Adaptable to almost any workpiece or production situation, the tables are available in four basic...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Actuator Control

The DCH Series actuator control from American Control Electronics (South Beloit, IL) combines an AC-to-DC switching power supply with a regenerative PWM drive to create an all-in-one solution. The control is suited for applications requiring control of 12 or 24 VDC motors when only 115 or 230 VAC power is available. With an...

Products : Motion Control
Motor Controllers

PITTMAN® Motors, a business unit of AMETEK Precision Motion Control (Harleysville, PA), announced IDEATM PBL4850E programmable 3-phase brushless motor controllers that let users create distributed standalone motion profiles without the need for additional motion control components such as programmable logic controllers or...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Encoder

The Model 30M low-profile, 30-mm-diameter magnetic encoder module from Encoder Products (Sagle, ID) provides incremental feedback by means of advanced sensing and signal processing technology. It combines a Hall-effect sensor, signal processing circuitry, and a small magnetic target that can be affixed to a rotating shaft via an...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Roller Chain

U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission (Wheeling, IL) introduced Titan Series roller chain for high-speed and harsh environments. The ANSI chain utilizes a “Titan specific” chain construction that includes coated pins and pin links, black oxide roller link plates, G7 Solid Bushings, and ringcoined connecting links. The chain is...

Products : Motion Control
Spindle Gear

maxon precision motors (Fall River, MA) announced the GP 6 S spindle for a variety of linear drive solutions. The maximum feed velocity is 15 mm/s, at a force of 10 N. Integrated ball bearings ensure that the drive stands up to high axial loads. The gear combines with the maxon DC brushed motor (RE 6) and DC brushless motor (EC...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Z-Theta System

Catalyst Motion Group™, a Haydon Kerk Motion System integrator (Waterbury, CT), offers a Z-Theta system capability that provides a compact package to achieve a rotary axis and a linear axis in a single unit. When operated in coordinated motion, the system can effectively create a helical motion path. The Kerk brand ScrewRail®...

Products : Motion Control
Motion Controller

Soft Servo Systems (Waltham, MA) offers the WMX general motion controller that simultaneously controls up to 64 axes and 64 channels with control functions on the EtherCAT platform. It can run as an EtherCAT master on a commercially available PC with a LAN (Ethernet) port and no specialized interface board. Compatible with...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rail Brakes

Profile Guide rail brakes from Nexen Group (Vadnais Heights, MN) are available in a range of sizes from 15 to 45, and provide engagement at 0.049 to 0.080 seconds. They provide static holding force to 2,600 N (585 lbs.), and can be combined to provide higher holding forces. The brake is suited for holding a load in position while...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Delta Robot and Controller

The RCP-DELTA robot and control system from Aerotech (Piitsburgh, PA) is available in four models that support payloads up to 3 kg, with X/Y operating ranges of 500/800/1100/1300 mm, and an optional continuous rotation about the Z axis (yaw). The robot can sustain 200 pick-and-place operations per minute with peak...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Slide System

Velmex (Bloomfield, NY) offers the Parallel-Coupled BiSlide System for long traverses and larger loads. The system features two identical BiSlide assemblies coupled with a timing belt to drive synchronous operation. It can handle loads to 600 pounds and is available in standard lengths up to 80 inches. The assembly is available in...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Positioning Stage

LinTech (Monrovia, CA) offers the 610 series totally enclosed positioning stage in stroke lengths from 6 to 60 inches (150 to 1520 mm). The screwdriven linear positioning systems use a low-friction, preloaded, recirculating linear ball bearing system that rides on precision ground linear rail guides. The linear rails are...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Mini Force Fields Control Individual Microbots

Researchers are using a technology likened to "mini force fields" to independently control individual microrobots operating within groups, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines in areas including manufacturing and medicine. Until now it was only possible to control groups of microbots to move...

News : Motion Control
Shape Optimization Improves Electric Motor Efficiency

The automotive and aeronautic industries often rely on shape optimization, an approach that uses modeling to create a framework for making devices as smooth and efficient as possible. Shape optimization techniques have now been used to enhance the performance of an electric motor.

News : Energy
Researchers Create Evaporation-Powered Motor

Biological systems are known to convert energy generated from the evaporation of water confined within nanoscale compartments into muscle-like mechanical work in response to changes in environmental humidity. Recently, scientists designed shape-changing engineered composites of bacterial spores and...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Soft Robot Fingers Collect Delicate Coral

Most deep sea robotic manipulators are constructed from hard materials that are not geared to collect fragile coral. Researchers at the Wyss Institute, Harvard Paulson School, and City University of New York have developed a soft robotic gripper that can safely handle delicate specimens, including...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
'Mini Force Fields' Power Microbots

Purdue researchers are using "mini force field technology" to independently control individual microrobots operating within groups.

News : Automotive
Nissan Tests NASA Technology in Driverless Car

For the past year, NASA’s Ames Research Center and Nissan have been collaborating on the development of autonomous driving technologies that could one day be used in future consumer vehicles, robotic rovers on Mars, and other space exploration missions. The partnership allows researchers to...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Contact State Estimation for Multi-Finger Robot Hands Using Particle Filters

A method, using a particle filter, has been created for identifying the location, orientation, and shape of an object that a robot hand touches. An appropriate motion model has been defined that characterizes the motion of the robot hand as it moves relative to an...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tendon-Driven Finger, Wrist, and Thumb Actuation System

The Robonaut 2 (R2) Dexterous Robot is the result of an effort to build a two-armed, ten-fingered humanoid robot torso capable of assembly work. This invention concerns a multi-fingered hand, and is composed of several parts. One is a tendon-driven, four-link, four-degree-of-freedom robotic...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Visual-Aided Inertial Navigation for Computationally Constrained Aerial Vehicles

Micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) are lightweight, highly dynamic vehicles with limited payload, sensing, and computation capabilities. There is significant interest to automate MAVs for military surveillance, reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue missions. The current...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Surgical Devices, Systems, and Related Methods

Various advancements have been made in the development of miniature in vivo surgical robots. These robots are designed to perform Laparoendo scopic Single-Site Surgery (LESS). After being inserted through a single incision, these robots can perform surgical procedures in a dexterous...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Ship Classification Using Gnostic Fields

There are many applications for Autonomous Seaborne Vessels (ASVs). The seaborne cargo shipping industry moves over 9 billion tons of cargo per year, is worth $375 billion, and is responsible for 90 percent of world trade. Autonomous cargo ships could reduce the operating expenses of cargo ships by 44%....

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tension-Stiffened and Tendon-Actuated Space Manipulators

The Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) and Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) have proven the benefit of long-reach manipulators, with the reach of both manipulators in the l5-18-m class. Manipulators with greater reach provide many benefits. The SRMS’s limited...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA Tensegrity Robotics Toolkit (NTRT) v1

Tensegrity robots have many unique properties useful for robots intended to operate in natural settings, yet the exploration of how to build and control such robots is just beginning. Many of their positive qualities, such as multipath force distribution, compliance, and their oscillatory nature, also...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
RoboSimian Software System from the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals

A software architecture to allow semi-autonomous mobile manipulation of highly dexterous robots under degraded communications was developed to enable remote operation of a mobile manipulation robot as a first responder in a disaster-response scenario. The software architecture...

News : Photonics/Optics
Nano-Submarine Motors Powered by Light

Each of the single-molecule, 244-atom submersibles built at Rice University has a motor powered by ultraviolet light. With each full revolution, the motor’s tail-like propeller moves the sub forward 18 nanometers. And with the motors running at more than a million RPM, that translates into speed....

News : Medical
Wearable Equipment Supports Human Motion

The Unplugged Powered Suit (UPS), a new model of pneumatic muscle and an active type of assistive equipment incorporating the muscle, is wearable equipment that supports human movement without requiring any electronic devices and tanks. It employs a newly developed pneumatic muscle named Pneumatic Gel...


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