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.

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Have You Considered Using Collaborative Robots?

Collaborative robots are part of Ford Motor Company’s assembly line. One cobot performs the greasing of the camshaft followers, another fills the engine oil, and a third uses a camera and UV light to check for leaks.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Antenna Near-Field Probe Station Scanner

Antenna characterization techniques are often expensive and time-consuming. NASA’s Glenn Research Center developed a highly versatile and automated system to perform characterization of single or multiple small circuit antennas, printed on-wafer or on other substrates, by measuring the antenna’s...

Briefs : Software
Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning
Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning

The Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) features a modular open systems architecture that enables the robot to be self-righting after a fall. The self-righting...

Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning
Application Briefs : Data Acquisition
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
There is increasing demand in many high-end commercial and industrial markets for precision motion sensing for a diversity of applications.
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
Articles : Electronics & Computers
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
We interviewed an industry expert about the role of inductive position sensors in the IIoT.
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
Products : Photonics/Optics
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Micromachining Subsystem

SCANLAB GmbH (Puchheim, Germany) has introduced a new member of its precSYS product line. Five-axis precSYS subsystems enable industrial...

New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Berkeley Lab technology could reduce time needed to declare buildings affected by earthquakes safe and sound.
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Low-Cost, Human-Friendly Robot Designed with Artificial Intelligence
Low-Cost, Human-Friendly Robot Designed with Artificial Intelligence

Robotics has traditionally focused on industrial applications in which robots require strength and precision to carry out repetitive tasks. These robots flourish in highly...

Low-Cost, Human-Friendly Robot Designed with Artificial Intelligence
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Soft, Multi-Functional Robots
Soft, Multi-Functional Robots

In the future, soft, animal-inspired robots may be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments in which rigid robots cannot currently be used such as inside the human body or in spaces that are too...

Soft, Multi-Functional Robots
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors

Microrobots that can deliver drugs to specific spots inside the body while being monitored and controlled from outside the body have been developed that also can treat tumors in the...

Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots
3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots

Researchers have 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 droplets, giving them...

3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View

The production of precision products depends on robot control systems knowing the location of the adhesive bonding head or welding head to the nearest millimeter at all times. This means the robot...

Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Articles : Internet of Things
Machine Vision Camera Trends: 2019 and Beyond
Machine Vision Camera Trends: 2019 and Beyond
Each passing year, machine vision is finding its way into applications that were not commercially feasible — and in some cases, impossible.
Machine Vision Camera Trends: 2019 and Beyond
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles
Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles

While different approaches have been used to create artificial muscles — including hydraulic systems, servomotors, shape-memory metals, and polymers that respond to stimuli — they all have limitations such...

Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles
Q&A : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Q&A: A Circulatory System for Robots

Robert F. Shepherd is Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is leading a team exploring the use of hydraulic fluids in soft robots to also serve as a source of energy.

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Spotting Objects Amid Clutter
Spotting Objects Amid Clutter

A new MIT-developed technique enables robots to quickly identify objects hidden in a three-dimensional cloud of data, reminiscent of how some people can make sense of a densely patterned “Magic Eye” image if...

Spotting Objects Amid Clutter
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Solve Customer OEM Sensor Problems

HBM provides custom-engineered solutions for a wide variety of OEM applications. This paper will explain the process behind a custom designed sensor solution from initial scope to performance definition, through the design and build cycle, to verification and validation. The basics of a strain gage based...

Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Mars Mystery Continues, As Study Rules Out Wind Erosion’s Role in Methane Spikes
A Mars Mystery Continues, As Study Rules Out Wind Erosion’s Role in Methane Spikes
Researchers from Newcastle University continue to explore the source of Mars' mysterious methane.
A Mars Mystery Continues, As Study Rules Out Wind Erosion’s Role in Methane Spikes
White Papers : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Technology and Benefits of Linear Position Sensors with Advanced Inductive Technology

This white paper describes new and improved technology that offers engineers specific advantages in speed, accuracy and reliability over previous linear position measurement technologies including magnetostrictive and prior inductive technologies.

The...

White Papers : Test & Measurement
Finding the Right Manufacturer for Your Design

To receive a quality PCB, you need an efficient design and a manufacturer capable of producing it. This paper will examine the challenges and best practices associated with matching your design requirements to a manufacturer’s capabilities.

Application Briefs : Test & Measurement
Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments
Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments

Millions of gallons of crude oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the seabed oil drilling catastrophe of 2010. Numerous strategies to stop or stem the oil flow...

Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software
Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software

Programmable automation controllers (PACs) play the primary role in IIoT systems. Also referred to as machine controllers, PACs provide a centralized architecture; they act as the...

Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials

Conventional pistons are made of a rigid chamber and a piston inside that can slide along the chamber’s inner wall while at the same time maintaining a tight seal. As a result, the piston...

New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp
Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp

Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, researchers compiled a dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone. The information...

Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity
Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity

Along with the onslaught of Internet of Things (IoT) and wirelessly enabled devices, cloud connectivity has become a major benefit for a range of applications from commercial to military. As...

Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity
Briefs : Motion Control
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings

There is great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying...

Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Products : Motion Control
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design

Miniature Linear Translation Stages

PI, L.P. (Auburn, MA) offers the L-505 miniature linear translation stages for precision motion, alignment, and positioning applications where space is...

New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection

Stepper motors and stepper-based linear actuators are often selected for open-loop motion control devices and equipment. These can be found in a wide range of products and...

Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Lunar Surface Manipulation System

NASA's Langley Research Center offers a novel lifting and precision positioning device with hybrid functional characteristics of both crane-type lifting devices and robotic manipulators. The design of the...

Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles
Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles

The emergence of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) systems is gradually preparing consumers for a time where they relinquish control of their vehicles. A heated source of...

Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles