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
Release of a Stuck Solar Array or Antenna

Satellite launches experience approximately one deployment failure every two years. These failures include a solar array or antenna that fails to deploy because it is stuck due to a mechanism failure, or is snagged by a cable or thermal blanket. Knowledge of the exact circumstances of the deployable...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Heat-Flux-Capable Boundary Layer Vortex Generator and Boundary Layer Transition Device

Afixed geometry device has been developed to promote boundary layer transition and generation of streamwise vorticity, and is capable of withstanding entry heating environments for the Space Shuttle Orbiter. Designed to have a total height above the...

Because of the cost-effectiveness of flying smallsats compared to large flagship spacecraft, there is increasing interest in boosting their capabilities for...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Piezoelectric-Actuated Rotary Ultrasonic Motor

This actuator was developed out of a need for a cryogenic actuator that can operate effectively in spite of the thermal mismatch involved with construction materials that have different...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA's Game-Changing Robotics

“Over the years, I’ve asked people, ‘If you had a robot, what would you want it to do for you?’” said Rob Ambrose, principal investigator for NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and chief of the...

Today’s robots easily execute “pick-and-place” tasks: finding an object in one specified location and bringing it to another. But what if there are obstacles in a robot’s way? And what...

Researchers have developed a method of combating virtual reality (VR) sickness that can be applied to consumer head-worn VR displays such as the Sony PlayStation VR. The approach dynamically,...

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart developed a motion system that is compliant and can be integrated in robots thanks to its space-saving design....

Researchers have devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The new technology is being tested by...

INSIDER: Data Acquisition
Researchers Test Galaxy-Seeking Robots

A telescope project from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will use a planned array of 5,000 galaxy-seeking robots to produce a 3D map of the universe. Dubbed ProtoDESI, the scaled-down, 10-robot system will help scientists achieve the pinpoint accuracy needed...

INSIDER: Semiconductors & ICs
Optics Breakthrough Could Revamp Night Vision

A breakthrough by an Australian collaboration of researchers could make infrared technology easy-to-use and cheap, potentially saving millions of dollars in defense and other areas using...

An often asked question from industrial machine builders or integrators is how they can effectively design or implement the conversion of a machine with servo technology to...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Anti-Creep Mechanism Enables Ultra-Precise Motor Table Positioning

Motion control is essential for the digitization and automation of high-tech equipment, but bearings remain basic to frictionless movement. Bearing Engineers, a bearing...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Motor Drive

The RoadRunner SoftStep R213S microstepping motor drive from Testra Corp. (Tempe, AZ) features an onboard processor that treats the input steps as small vector moves, and chains them together with 250 or 256 microsteps per...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Positioners

ALM Positioners (Rock Island, IL) released the Model MHL1P 10,000-pound-capacity single-column positioner that features 68.5" vertical travel in 35 seconds; a pendant-controlled, 4-HP, column-mounted hydraulic unit for lifting...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Slide

Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions (Waterbury, CT) introduced the WGS Wide Guide Screw linear slide that utilizes a screw-driven carriage. Length and speed are not limited by critical screw speed, allowing high RPM, linear speed, and...

Products: Motion Control
Angle Sensors

Novotechnik U.S. (Southborough, MA) introduced the RSX-7900 Series angle sensors that provide up to IP69K ingress protection and ISO13849 PL-d safety compliance in a non-contacting design. The sensors are available in six...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Hexapod

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) offers the HEX500-350HL high-load, six-degree-of-freedom hexapod for applications in sensor testing and high-force device manipulation. It is actuated with six struts that are built with preloaded bearings,...

Products: Motion Control
Level Indicator

The Model BM-T tilt Switch from BinMaster (Lincoln, NE) is a level indicator used for point level detection of heavy materials in bins, tanks, or silos, or over a conveyor belt or open pile. It is suspended vertically over a...

Products: Motion Control
Machine Controller

Mitsubishi Electric Automation (Vernon Hills, IL) introduced the iQ-R Series machine control system that incorporates sequence, motion, safety, process, and C language control into one platform. The control platform is...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Limboid Reconfigurable Robots for In-Space Assembly

Many future space vehicles, planetary bases, and mining operations will be too large and heavy to launch on a single rocket. Instead, component parts would need to be launched on...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Cam Hand

A durable gripper tool was designed for use by RoboSimian robots intended for use in disaster scenarios that demand high-force, robust manipulation. The resulting Cam Hand fills a previously unaddressed niche that emphasizes grip...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
New Head Restraint System Reduces Whiplash Injuries

A reactive head restraint and car seat system designed to reduce whiplash in rear-end vehicle collisions has been unveiled. The unique concept has been brought to life using linkage...

Inside their boots, firefighters’ have advanced insoles with sensors that make it possible for emergency operations commanders to follow the firefighters’ exact...

Filling a major gap in precision control for applications from semiconductor fabrication to manipulations of living cells, researchers have developed a frictionless drive...

On December 6, 2015, two small satellites, or CubeSats, successfully launched to the International Space Station. As part of NASA’s...

Tactile handles forklifts, industrial trucks, and motorized carts are being developed that employ pressure sensors to detect the direction in which a user is pushing or pulling the...

Using an image stacking and matching technique, researchers from University College London revealed unprecedented detail of the Martian surface. The Beagle-2 lander, ancient lakebeds, and NASA’s...

At the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present a decentralized planning algorithm for teams of...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Reducing the Cost of Quality in Automotive BiW

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development Priorities

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Critical Role of Fiber Optic Temperature Sensors in Medical...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Zinc Die Casting Concepts to Achieve Precision, Performance, and...

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Radar Measurements: Triggering, Analysis, and Generation

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Designing with Silicone for Space

Videos