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Sensors 2013, 13(1), 1021-1045; doi:10.3390/s130101021
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A Flexible Sensor Technology for the Distributed Measurement of Interaction Pressure

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1 The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (PI), Italy 2 Biomechanical Engineering Laboratory, Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine (MIRA), University of Twente, 7500 EA Enschede, The Netherlands 3 Laboratory of Robotics, University of Ljubljana, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 November 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 15 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
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Abstract

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.
Keywords: distributed force sensor; wearable robotics; physical human-robot interaction; pressure-sensitive insole distributed force sensor; wearable robotics; physical human-robot interaction; pressure-sensitive insole
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Donati, M.; Vitiello, N.; De Rossi, S.M.M.; Lenzi, T.; Crea, S.; Persichetti, A.; Giovacchini, F.; Koopman, B.; Podobnik, J.; Munih, M.; Carrozza, M.C. A Flexible Sensor Technology for the Distributed Measurement of Interaction Pressure. Sensors 2013, 13, 1021-1045.

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