Special Coverage

NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris
Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space

Driving Simulator Helps Engineers Calculate Human Factor

Simulations are an important development tool in the automobile and utility vehicle. The properties of vehicle components, such as how they respond in an accident, their reliability, or their energy efficiency can be investigated using simulations before the first component is manufactured. Researchers developed an interactive driving simulator using RODOS (robot-based driving and operation simulator) with which realistic interaction between human and vehicle can be analyzed.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics, Simulation Software, Software, Automotive, Transportation
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Moving Magnet Voice Coil Actuators Offer Controllable Movement for High-Duty-Cycle Applications

There are two types of voice coil actuators: moving coil and moving magnet. The materials of construction are similar, since they both use rare earth magnets, steel, copper wire, and basic insulation materials. There is a tendency to want to say one type is better suited for certain applications; however, there are many different sizes and shapes of voice coil actuators, making it difficult to make blanket statements about which type of actuator works better, and where.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Copper, Insulation, Steel
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Integrated Motion Solution Keeps Laser Marking Machine Costs Down

As the demands of traceability and compliance are put on manufacturers, using a laser provides permanent marking of a variety of information, including 2D bar codes, serial numbers, company information, and logos.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Supply chain management, Identification, Packaging
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Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM)

This sensor-driven, model-based approach can be applied to small-batch manufacturing processes and explosive ordnance disposal.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Autonomous robotic manipulators have the potential to increase manufacturing efficiency, provide in-home care, and reduce the risk to humans in hazardous situations. The current challenge in autonomous robotic manipulation is to approach the capabilities of dedicated, one-off manipulators in known environments with versatile, inexpensive, and ubiquitous manipulator systems that can operate in a range of environments with only high-level human input.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Robotics
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Sliding Gait for ATHLETE Mobility

ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is a multipurpose mobility platform for planetary surfaces. It is a cross between a wheeled rover and a walking robot, and travels using powered wheels mounted on the end of each of six robotic limbs. Each limb is a fully articulated robotic manipulator with six or seven degrees of freedom.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Motion Control, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles
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Optimizing Closed-Loop Control in Hydraulic Motion

Performing closed-loop control of hydraulic servo systems is often more challenging than controlling servomotor systems. The main reason is that hydraulic systems use compressible oil to move the actuator. Because of this, a hydraulic system can be modeled as a mass between two springs, where the piston and the load is the mass, and the oil on both sides of the piston represents the two springs. In contrast, servomotor systems are easier to control because there is basically only the inertia of the motor and the connected load to be dealt with.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Vibration, Vibration, Hydraulic systems
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Robotic Exoskeleton Vastly Improves Quality of Life

Worldwide an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has developed an innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility impairment get back on their feet— the Rex Bionics robotic exoskeleton. Its integrated maxon motors help to ensure smooth limb movement.

Posted in: Features, MDB, Articles, Electronics, Power Management, Power Supplies, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mechanical Components, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Orthopedics, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Positioning Equipment, Power Transmission, Sensors, Kinematics, Medical equipment and supplies, Robotics, Electric motors, Biomechanics
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Feedback Sensors Keep Servomotors on Target

Fundamentally, a servo system can perform no more accurately than the accuracy of the feedback device controlling it. In addition, errors in speed or position can be introduced into the system by the less-than-perfect mechanisms that transfer the motor power to the load. Environmental factors like electrical noise or temperature may also introduce positioning errors. Sometimes the errors are acceptable. More frequently, however, they are not. When it comes to high-performance servo applications, feedback devices fall into several different categories. Each offers unique advantages and disadvantages, both electrical and mechanical, that make one better suited for a particular application than another.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Failure analysis, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Noise, Noise, Auxiliary power units
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Handling Delicate Materials

Special care needs to be taken when handling delicate materials used in medical applications. Small diameters provide increased flexibility needed for long-flex-life applications such as cardiac catheter wires. Many other applications also use these fine materials as winding and braiding materials, including the medical device industry, microelectronics, and composites.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Medical equipment and supplies, Materials handling, Fibers
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Gearboxes

The i-series planetary gearboxes from Groschopp (Sioux Center, IA) are available with AC, PMDC, and brushless motors, and are made of cast aluminum. They are offered with up to three stages of steel cut or optional plastic gears, suitable for both leftand right-hand rotation running, in continuous and intermittent duty operation. The plastic gears can withstand operating temperatures from -15 to 65 °C; the steel gearing can withstand -30 to 140 °C temperatures. Rated at a standard IP54, the gearboxes feature sealed, doubleball output bearings and gaskets between each module to resist grease and dust.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control
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