Sensing pressure distribution on a lower-limb exoskeleton physical human-machine interface

Stefano Marco Maria de Rossi, Nicola Vitiello, Tommaso Lenzi, Renaud Ronsse, Bram Koopman, Alessandro Persichetti, Fabrizio Vecchi, Auke Jan Ijspeert, Herman van der Kooij, Maria Chiara Carrozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A sensory apparatus to monitor pressure distribution on the physical human-robot interface of lower-limb exoskeletons is presented. We propose a distributed measure of the interaction pressure over the whole contact area between the user and the machine as an alternative measurement method of human-robot interaction. To obtain this measure, an array of newly-developed soft silicone pressure sensors is inserted between the limb and the mechanical interface that connects the robot to the user, in direct contact with the wearer's skin. Compared to state-of-the-art measures, the advantage of this approach is that it allows for a distributed measure of the interaction pressure, which could be useful for the assessment of safety and comfort of human-robot interaction. This paper presents the new sensor and its characterization, and the development of an interaction measurement apparatus, which is applied to a lower-limb rehabilitation robot. The system is calibrated, and an example its use during a prototypical gait training task is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-227
Number of pages21
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Distributed force sensor
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Lower-limb exoskeleton
  • Physical human-machine interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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