Maxon Motor USA continues to shrink the size of its integrated motors and feedback devices. Here at the Medical Design and Manufacturing Show West in Anaheim, CA, the company showed off a new 6-mm DC motor with an integrated magnetoresistance (MR) encoder. “It's part of our growing focus on miniature mechatronic systems,” says Kirk Barker, the company's electronics product manager. Previously, the smallest size integrated motor of this type was 10-mm, Barker says. One of the first uses for the new motor is in a precision medical pump. Barker explains that the motor not only helps operate the pump but also acts as a sensor that reveals blockages or malfunctions—which turn up as changes in back-EMF and current. Stay tuned for more technical details on the new motor-encoder package as they become available.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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