Drives and Controls Magazine
Home
Menu
Robots learn how to grasp unfamiliar objects reliably

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK have developed a way of teaching robots to pick up unfamiliar objects without dropping or breaking them.

Silicon carbide device ‘will boost EV efficiencies by 10%’

Toyota and the automotive parts supplier Denso have developed a silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor for use in automotive power control units (PCUs) which, they say, will boost hybrid vehicle (HV) efficiencies by 10% and reduce PCU sizes by 80%, compared to systems based on silicon devices. Toyota plans to start test-driving vehicles fitted with the new PCUs within a year.

Twin-stator SR motor ‘out-performs standard designs’

US researchers have developed a switched reluctance motor with two stators that, they claim, produces significantly more power and torque for a given size and weight than traditional motor technologies, without using permanent magnets or rare-earth materials.

Kickstarter campaign aims to fund universal motor controller

A British manufacturer of electric golf trolleys has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise £28,000 ($47,000) to design and build a universal motor controller for DC brushed and brushless motors. The company, called CompactCaddy, realised the need for such a controller when it could not find a suitable controller for testing an axial flux motor that it had developed.

€36m European project develops rare-earth-free EV motor

A consortium of 30 organisations from nine European countries have built a prototype of a compact electric vehicle motor that needs no rare-earth materials, yet is smaller, lighter and more powerful than conventional EV motors. The motor has been developed as part of the €36m MotorBrain project which aims to improve the efficiency of EV drivetrains by up to 20%.

New version of Powerlink is simpler and more modular

The Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group (EPSG) has issued a new version of the Powerlink stack which, it says, has a simplified architecture and improved modularity.

Robot can catch a tumbling bottle in mid-flight

Swiss researchers have programmed a robot to catch a variety of spinning objects – including tennis rackets, hammers and half-full bottles – when they are thrown towards it.

IoT partners offer cloud-based predictive monitoring

The US networking equipment supplier B&B Electronics has formed a partnership with an Internet-of-Things (IoT) specialist, SeeControl, to offer predictive monitoring systems for industrial applications. This is the first of several strategic relationships that B&B is planning with cloud-based data analysis companies.

Battery plane could lead to take-off for electric aircraft

The European plane-maker Airbus has flown an battery-powered plane that could be the forerunner of a new generation of small electric and hybrid powered aircraft, as well as hybrid airliners capable of carrying 80 passengers.

Smaller, $30 Raspberry Pi targets industrial users

The organisation that developed the tiny, low-cost Raspberry Pi computer has announced the development of an even smaller version aimed at industrial and commercial applications. The Rasbperry Pi Compute module, which is expected to cost around $30 in batches of 100, is essentially a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit onto a SODIMM board, along with onboard memory.

ABB cuts SynRM losses by a further 20% to reach ‘IE5’

At the 2014 Hannover Fair, ABB has unveiled a new version of its high-efficiency synchronous reluctance (SynRM) motor technology which reduces losses by a further 20%, potentially allowing it to comply with as-yet-unpublished IE5 (“ultra premium”) efficiency norm.

Crowd-funded project hopes to create $700 3D printer

UPDATED: A group of German open-source motion engineering enthusiasts has raised more than €20,000 via the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to produce a motion control board that could be used to create a 3D printing platform for less than $700. By the time the appeal ended on 1 May, they had raised €20,621.

Multi-mode wireless sensor system can run for 20 years

Panasonic in Japan has developed a low-power wireless communication technology for M2M (machine-to-machine) sensor networks, which will allow devices using different communications standards to communicate with each other without human intervention, and operate for 20 years on one battery.

Car will tour the world using polymer bearings

The German engineering polymer specialist igus has replaced many of the conventional bearings in a small car with its own polymer-based plain bearings and is sending the vehicle on a global tour to demonstrate their capabilities.

UPDATED: Bionic kangaroo hops into view at Hannover Fair

The latest creature to join Festo’s mechatronic menagerie is a hopping kangaroo that will make its public debut at the Hannover Fair in April. The company has a tradition of unveiling a new mechatronic version of a living animal at the exhibition every year and the BionicKangaroo is the latest in a long line that has included swimming penguins, flying gulls and floating jellyfish.