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.

White Papers : Motion Control
White Paper: Why Electromechanical Actuators are Increasingly Replacing Hydraulic Actuators

Hydraulic actuation has traditionally provided much of the muscle for the industrial revolution, but that functionality has come with a cost. Hydraulic systems are complicated and messy, labor and space-consuming, and expensive to operate and maintain....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor

Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners, and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen....

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Soft Robotics Perception System

A perception system for soft robots was developed that is inspired by the way humans process information about their own bodies in space and in relation to other objects and people. The system includes a...

Products : Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: November 2019
3D-printing platforms, simulation software, transistors, and more.
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Wearable Motion Sensors Measure Fetal Heartbeat

A technique was developed that could allow expectant parents to hear their baby’s heartbeat continuously at home with a non-invasive and safe device that is potentially more accurate than any fetal heartrate monitor currently available in the market.

LIDAR Systems, Smart Cameras, Optical Communications, and more.
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It

For decades, robots in controlled environments like assembly lines have been able to pick up the same object over and over again. More recently, breakthroughs in computer vision have enabled...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Method Enables Robots to Exchange Directed Messages

A novel approach was developed to improve communications range and allow for covert behavior using a team of robots for future multi-domain operations. Specifically, researchers...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight

Flying animals both power and control flight by flapping their wings. This enables small natural flyers such as insects to hover close to a flower but also to rapidly escape danger. Animal flight has...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots Track Moving Objects with Sub-Centimeter Accuracy

A system was developed that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to help robots target moving objects with unprecedented speed and accuracy. The system could enable greater...

Facility Focus : Information Technology
Facility Focus: National Science Foundation
In recent decades, NSF-funded researchers have discovered quite a bit, including many of the fundamental particles of matter.
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core

Researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material. The fibers consist of a gallium metal core...

A team of inventors found a fast way to join plastic to metal.
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Smart Electronic Skin for Robots and Prosthetics

Humans use the sense of touch to accomplish almost every daily task such as picking up a cup of coffee or shaking someone’s hand. Without it, humans can even lose their sense of balance when walking. Similarly, robots need to have a sense of touch in order to interact better with humans but...

Researchers have developed a formula that enables them to recreate different levels of perceived softness. Based on the results from their experiments, they created equations that can calculate how...

UCLA engineers have made major improvements on their design of an optical neural network — a device inspired by how the human brain works — that can identify objects or process...

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects

MIT researchers have compiled a dataset that captures the detailed behavior of a robotic system physically pushing hundreds of different objects. Using the dataset, robots “learn” pushing...

A minimal, map-less approach to drone navigation takes after the bee.
White Papers : Automotive
Finding the Right Approach: How to Test a Vehicle’s ECU

Modern vehicles can contain over 100 ECUs controlling everything from the drivetrain to the ADAS systems. Each ECU needs to be tested individually as well as in conjunction with other components. This white paper discusses the five main tester design challenges and five common approaches...

White Papers : Automotive
Securing the Connected Car: Application Code Matters

Connected car application developers have seen a shift from static, fixed function, device specific applications to a “cloud” connected world, vulnerable to the whims of bad actors and white hat hackers alike.

White Papers : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Specialized Sensors Perform in Extreme Environments

Demand for sensors that can operate in extreme conditions is increasing, in response to an overall industry trend toward additional product performance testing and monitoring. It takes an extremely durable design to make reliable measurements in extreme conditions, which may include high or...

On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
The Importance of Signal Routing to Maximize Automated Test System Performance and Reliability

When designing an automated test system, an important but often overlooked task is the development of a signal routing subsystem that connects the test instrumentation and switching elements to the device under test. Implementing a signal...

Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
Military Robotics

While drones are relatively new additions to the military's stable of high-tech robotic systems, ground-based robots have been in use for more than a decade. From detecting, defusing, and disposing of explosives to working side-by-side with soldiers in the field, robots have found a myriad of applications within the...

A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Validate Autonomous VTOL Safety

Prepared for Takeoff? When market share is up for grabs, virtual VTOL testing is the only way to fly. ANSYS offers the industry’s most complete simulation solution for accelerating autonomous aircraft development. It integrates high-fidelity physics with sensor design and testing, functional safety...

News : Physical Sciences
Superluminal Jets and Time Reversibility

Astrophysicists Jon Hakkila of the College of Charleston and Robert Nemiroff of the Michigan Technological University have published research indicating that blasts that create gamma-ray bursts may actually exceed the speed of light in surrounding gas clouds, but do so without violating Einstein's theory...

News : Physical Sciences
Ringing of a Newborn Black Hole

If Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity holds true, then a black hole, born from the cosmically quaking collisions of two massive black holes, should itself "ring" in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverberates sound waves. Einstein predicted that the particular...

Medical implants of the future may feature reconfigurable electronic platforms that can morph in shape and size dynamically as bodies change or even transform to...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robots: Are They as Safe as They Sound?