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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Imprimir: 0278-940X
ISSN On-line: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2019026514
pages 109-119

A Comparison of Force Sensing for Applications in Prosthetic Haptic Feedback

Megan Wieser
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Jinglin Liu
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Priscilla Hernandez
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Jeffrey T. La Belle
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona


The current study presents a comparison of two load sensor designs that can be applied toward haptic feedback sensing in upper limb prosthetics. A lab-standard capacitive load cell sensor is discussed, which is succeeded by the proposal of an electrochemical sensor. Experiments were conducted primarily as a proof-of-principle study to evaluate sensor characteristics for prosthetic applications. The aim is to address the need for minimally invasive, cost-effective prosthetic sensor technologies, as the investigated sensor designs conceptualize applications of average grip forces. Thus, force requirements for the sensors were determined to be 250–500 N per the average maximum grip strength of healthy adults. Comparable to a commercial gold-standard capacitive load cell design, a lab-standard load cell sensor was inexpensively manufactured using conductive foam. The lab-standard design was improved upon by employing electrochemical techniques and CP-9000, a thermoplastic elastomer material, to form an electrochemical sensor for enhanced sensitivity. Sustained loads ranging from 0.49 to 2.45 N resulted in average maximum current readouts of − 1.25 × 10-1 to − 4.25 × 10-1 for the lab-standard sensor, and − 5.95 μA to − 7.85 μA for the electrochemical sensor. The electrochemical sensor was reproducible and demonstrated the potential to discriminate between various loads. Force requirements were not reached; however, future studies will seek to increase the mechanical strength of the electrochemical sensor. As the initial electrochemical sensor design provides a potential method for low-cost computer-based prosthetics, thermoplastic elastomer materials with increased elastic and mechanical strength properties will be investigated.


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