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Towards the Development of Soft Force and Pressure Sensors for Robot Safety Applications



Jennifer Case, Nagarajan Rangarajan, Joseph A. Falco, Kenny Kimble


When impacted by collaborative robots, human body parts deform which can cause surface and deep pain. Onset of pain has been determined as an acceptable injury threshold in human-robot impacts and has been related to pressure. Therefore, it is necessary to measure pressure on deformable human body parts contacted by a robot. A pressure sensor appropriate for this purpose should deform with the body part and not introduce local stiffness. In this paper, we present the design and fabrication of a soft force/pressure sensor. We demonstrate that the sensor matches the biomechanical response of the human forearm and that its capacitance changes linearly with applied force. In the near future, we intend to embed this sensor in a biofidelic dummy arm, with long-term goals of designing a fully sensorized dummy to measure pain caused by impact with collaborative robots.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings from IEEE Sensors 2021
Conference Dates
October 31-November 3, 2021
Conference Location
Sydney, AU
Conference Title
IEEE Sensors 2021


force sensor, pressure sensor, soft materials


Case, J. , Rangarajan, N. , Falco, J. and Kimble, K. (2022), Towards the Development of Soft Force and Pressure Sensors for Robot Safety Applications, Proceedings from IEEE Sensors 2021, Sydney, AU, [online], (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created January 21, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022