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
Digital Servo Drive

The SXD 15 digital servo drive from Allied Motion (Amherst, NY) is a compact, modular unit that can drive a DC brush, DC brushless, or AC brushless motor requiring up to 1 kW of power. It can be either panel- or DIN-- rail mounted, and features standard ratings of 12 to 80 VDC bus, 15 A continuous, and 30 A peak current....

Products : Motion Control

Qosina (Edgewood, NY) offers the 97339 one-handed green torquer. Made of ABS, polypropylene, and stainless steel, the torquer fits guide wires 0.018 to 0.038". It is operable with one hand by squeezing (instead of turning) the top button to open the locking mechanism, and loading the guide wire. Molded ridges enhance grip, steering, and...

Products : Motion Control

Fixtureworks® (Fraser, MI) offers Imao® “One-Touch” pin-and-receptacle fasteners used to attach fixtures, plates, machine covers, and more, joining components with moderate clamping force. An alternative to nut-and-bolt assembly, the fasteners provide secure changeover and installation without the need for tools. The...

Products : Motion Control
Motor Drive Software

Teledyne LeCroy (Chestnut Ridge, NY) announced three-phase Motor Drive Power Analyzer software for its HDO8000 oscilloscopes for motor drive embedded control and power section debug. With the addition of three-phase power analyzer capability, and motor speed and torque integration, the drive system can be validated and...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motor Gate Drivers

Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) offers the MCP8025 and MCP8026 3-phase brushless DC (BLDC) motor gate drivers with integrated power module, LIN transceiver, and sleep mode. The devices can power the dsPIC® digital signal controllers (DSCs) and PIC® microcontrollers (MCUs), driving MOSFETs, sensing...

Products : Motion Control
HEV Motors

Parker’s Electromechanical Automation Division (Rohnert Park, CA) announced the GVM142 HEV motors. The generator and auxiliary motor series is an electric machine intended for use in electric and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) accessory applications such as high-power alternator replacements and electrohydraulic pump control. They...

Products : Motion Control
Positioning System

Physik Instrumente (Auburn, MA) offers the H-850KMLD 6-axis hexapod positioning system with 1,000-pound load capacity that provides 1-μm minimum incremental motion over a 100-mm travel range in XY, and 0.5-μm in the Z direction. Repeatability in the three linear axes is ±1μm, and ±5μrad/9μrad in the rotary axes. The...

Techs for License : Motion Control
NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Spring Joint Package with Overstrain Sensor

This flexible joint provides two degrees of freedom and a tremendous amount of compliance. The overstrain sensor joint has a passive and restoring force that allows the joint to return to a default position, and is also proportional to...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rosetta Begins Science on Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. Mission controllers at ESA's mission operations center in Germany received a signal confirming that the Philae lander had touched down on comet...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Top Prizes Awarded in the Create the Future Design Contest

On November 7, the top prizes in the 2014 Create the Future Design Contest were presented in New York City. Winners in seven categories, as well as the Grand Prize winner, received awards for their innovations in the annual contest.

Techs for License : Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Robotics, Automation & Control

Inductive Monitoring System

IMS software utilizes techniques from model-based reasoning, machine learning, and data mining to build system-monitoring knowledge bases from archived or simulated sensor data. In real time, IMS performs monitoring functions, determining and...

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Killer Robots - Army Studies Challenges of Remote Lethality

The military has used and experimented with robots that perform functions such as scouting and surveillance, carrying supplies and detecting and disposing of improvised homemade bombs. However, when it comes to integrating lethality, such as a weapon capable of firing 10 rounds per...

News : Motion Control
Supersonic Laser-Propelled Rockets Could Help Aircraft Exceed Mach 10

A new method for improving the thrust generated by laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. The method, developed by physicists Yuri Rezunkov of the Institute of Optoelectronic Instrument Engineering, Russia, and Alexander Schmidt of the Ioffe...

News : Communications
Ocean Gliders Measure Melting Polar Ice

The rapidly melting ice sheets on the coast of West Antarctica are a potentially major contributor to rising ocean levels worldwide. Although warm water near the coast is thought to be the main factor causing the ice to melt, the process by which this water ends up near the cold continent is not well...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Microbot Muscles Self-Assemble and Flex

In a step toward robots smaller than a grain of sand, University of Michigan researchers have shown how chains of self-assembling particles could serve as electrically activated muscles in the tiny machines.

"We are inspired by ideas of microscopic robots," said Michael Solomon, a professor of chemical...

News : Communications
Cockroach Biobots Detect Sound

North Carolina State University researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.


Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
2014 Create the Future Design: Machinery/Automation/Robotics Category Winner
Rikki Razdan, Alan Kielar, Pat Stearns, and Melissa White
Woburn, MA

The intrinsic speed and precision of the human ocular-motor system makes the eye an ideal pointing device for human-machine interface. Eye tracking has not yet been...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
2014 Create the Future Design: Grand Prize Winner
Behrokh Khoshnevis
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

Contour Crafting (CC) is a computerized construction method that 3D prints large-scale structures directly from architectural CAD models. Walls are built up by forming their outer surfaces via extrusion of...

News : Aerospace
Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic...

News : Motion Control
2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars
2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have invented a 2-in-1 electric motor that increases the range of electric vehicles. The engine integrates...

2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars
News : Medical
Pulley Mechanism Improves Hand Function After Surgery

Engineers at Oregon State University have developed and successfully demonstrated a simple pulley mechanism to improve hand function after surgery. The device is one of the first instruments ever created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement while implanted...

News : Test & Measurement
Technology Enables First Test of Actual Turbine Engine Conditions

Because of the difficulty of monitoring turbine engines in operation, most manufacturers test turbine blades either after flight or rely on simulated tests to give them the data on how the various coatings on the blades are performing. Until now, creating an accurate simulation...

News : Energy
Robots Restore Electricity After Power Outages

A team led by Nina Mahmoudian of Michigan Technological University has developed a tabletop model of a robot team that can bring power to places that need it the most.

“If we can regain power in communication towers, then we can find the people we need to rescue,” says Mahmoudian, an assistant...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Underwater Robot Skims for Port Security

MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans.

Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Analyzing 6-Pulse Drive Harmonic Mitigation Techniques for Industrial Automation

Contemporary industrial automation control systems are employing variable frequency drives (VFDs) in ever-increasing numbers. VFDs give control engineers flexibility to precisely regulate the speed and torque of motors in a wide array of applications. The...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Reliable Locking in High-Vibration Environments

Today’s PCB plug-in connectors must accommodate many trends, including increasing miniaturization, rising levels of performance of electronic components, and growing complexity in machine and system engineering.

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Helical Gearboxes

B&R Industrial Automation Corp. (Roswell, GA) offers the 8GP70 series helical gearbox with a shaft output, and the 8GF70 series helical gearbox with a drive flange. Both feature minimal backlash and can handle high axial and radial forces. They also feature high power density and an IP65 rating for use in harsh...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Servomotor

The integrated I2 DC Servo Motor from Specialty Motors (Valencia, CA) is programmable to perform complex velocity and positioning movements. The all-in-one unit contains the brushless servomotor, controller, drives, power supply, and feedback devices in a single enclosure, allowing for proof-of-concept engineering,...

Products : Motion Control
Stepper Motors

Lin Engineering (Morgan Hill, CA) has released the G5709 stepper motor series. This NEMA 23, 0.9-degree stepper motor was designed to output high torque while running with low resonance. The motors output high torque while exhibiting low noise. The stepper motors feature a lower overall operating temperature and patented Signature...

Products : Motion Control
Modular Fans

Horton (Roseville, MN) has introduced the WindShiftTM WSE modular fan with a swept-blade design that generates greater static pressure at slower speeds. The fan is available in diameters of 24 to 41 inches (610 to 1040 mm), and 2.44 to 5.94-inch (62 to 151 mm) pitch widths. All of the WindShift blades contain...