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Collaborative Robotics: Measuring Blunt Force Impacts on Humans



Joseph A. Falco, Jeremy A. Marvel, Richard J. Norcross


Robot manufacturers are developing a new generation of industrial robots that are designed to work in collaborative environments in close proximity to humans. In parallel, an international standards effort is developing a technical specification to support a new set of robot safety standards that include provisions for collaborative robot operation. As these two developments merge, industry needs measurements and test methods to determine if this new generation of robots conforms to the emerging collaborative robot safety standards. Furthermore, the standards effort is in need of measurement implementations to validate the proposed collaborative metrics. Power and force limiting, one aspect of the developing safety standards, is a robot function that performs a protective stop if any force or pressure limit is exceeded when a robot makes contact with a human during collaborative operations. The standard defines a set of injury metrics based on predetermined medical/biomechanical requirements and parameters. These parameters and requirements include a defined human body model with main and subcomponent regions, relevant injury criteria with per-region limit values, and characteristic values for the deformation constants for the established body regions. These permissible forces and surface pressures for the affected individual body regions must be tested according to potential collision area points after setting up a collaborative robotic workcell. This paper provides an overview of the injury metrics currently proposed, and describes a prototype measurement device that replicates the deformation constants of the various body regions and measures static and dynamic collision forces during robot collisions. Initial testing of the device is presented along with evaluation of the metrics currently proposed by this standards activity.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 7th International conference on the Safety of Industrial Automated Systems
Conference Dates
October 11-12, 2012
Conference Location


collaborative, robot, safety, standards, injury, ISO 10218, TS 15066


Falco, J. , Marvel, J. and Norcross, R. (2012), Collaborative Robotics: Measuring Blunt Force Impacts on Humans, Proceedings of the 7th International conference on the Safety of Industrial Automated Systems, Montreal, -1, [online], (Accessed June 25, 2024)


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Created October 12, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017