A flexible sensor technology for the distributed measurement of interaction pressure

Marco Donati, Nicola Vitiello, Stefano Marco Maria de Rossi, Tommaso Lenzi, Simona Crea, Alessandro Persichetti, Francesco Giovacchini, Bram Koopman, Janez Podobnik, Marko Munih, Maria Chiara Carrozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a sensor technology for the measure of the physical human-robot interaction pressure developed in the last years at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. The system is composed of flexible matrices of opto-electronic sensors covered by a soft silicone cover. This sensory system is completely modular and scalable, allowing one to cover areas of any sizes and shapes, and to measure different pressure ranges. In this work we present the main application areas for this technology. A first generation of the system was used to monitor human-robot interaction in upper- (NEUROExos; Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna) and lower-limb (LOPES; University of Twente) exoskeletons for rehabilitation. A second generation, with increased resolution and wireless connection, was used to develop a pressure-sensitive foot insole and an improved human-robot interaction measurement systems. The experimental characterization of the latter system along with its validation on three healthy subjects is presented here for the first time. A perspective on future uses and development of the technology is finally drafted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1045
Number of pages25
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Distributed force sensor
  • Physical human-robot interaction
  • Pressure-sensitive insole
  • Wearable robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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