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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 493; doi:10.3390/s18020493

Customizable Optical Force Sensor for Fast Prototyping and Cost-Effective Applications

Departamento de Ingeniería de Sistemas y Automática, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, 03202 Elche, Spain
Departamento de Ingeniería en Automática Electrónica, Arquitectura y Redes de Computadores, Universidad de Cádiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Spain 2017)


This paper presents the development of an optical force sensor architecture directed to prototyping and cost-effective applications, where the actual force requirements are still not well defined or the most suitable commercial technologies would highly increase the cost of the device. The working principle of this sensor consists of determining the displacement of a lens by measuring the distortion of a refracted light beam. This lens is attached to an elastic interface whose elastic constant is known, allowing the estimation of the force that disturbs the optical system. In order to satisfy the requirements of the design process in an inexpensive way, this sensor can be built by fast prototyping technologies and using non-optical grade elements. To deal with the imperfections of this kind of manufacturing procedures and materials, four fitting models are proposed to calibrate the implemented sensor. In order to validate the system, two different sensor implementations with measurement ranges of ±45 N and ±10 N are tested with the proposed models, comparing the resulting force estimation with respect to an industrial-grade load cell. Results show that all models can estimate the loads with an error of about 6% of the measurement range. View Full-Text
Keywords: optical force sensor; printable sensor; cost-effective sensor; hysteresis correction; Prandtl–Ishlinskii model; perceptron optical force sensor; printable sensor; cost-effective sensor; hysteresis correction; Prandtl–Ishlinskii model; perceptron

Figure 1

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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Díez, J.A.; Catalán, J.M.; Blanco, A.; García-Perez, J.V.; Badesa, F.J.; Gacía-Aracil, N. Customizable Optical Force Sensor for Fast Prototyping and Cost-Effective Applications. Sensors 2018, 18, 493.

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