Journal article

Thick-film multi-DOF force / torque sensor for wrist rehabilitation

A complete six degree of freedom (6 DOF) force/torque sensor has been designed and fabricated, adapted to wrist rehabilitation applications, with the focus laid on simple, straightforward manufacturing processes. This paper details the mechanical design, 3D modeling, manufacture and characterisation of the sensor. Compared to previous work [1], this design has the advantage of simple, fully planar machining, and the load-sensing elements all lie on the same plane, making the device compatible with single-film deposition or a foil bonding process. The sensor was machined from steel, and the piezoresistive load-sensing bridges were deposited using thick-film technology. We used commercial thick-film materials in the work described here. A new lead-free materials system compatible with low processing temperatures (<700 °C) will shortly replace the commercial one and is expected to eventually also be adaptable to aluminium substrates. Such a sensor could find applications in multi-DOF therapeutic robotic systems as well as in isometric motor training.

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