What is a force torque sensor?

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

A robotic force torque (FT) sensor is a device in which forces and torques are applied and a signal is created, measured, recorded or used as a feedback signal in human robot interaction activities. The most widely used sensor in robotics is the 6-axis FT sensor where 3 forces and 3 torques can be measured.

Static and dynamic force torque measurement devices measure strain induced from the applied forces/torques using resistive, capacitive and optical technologies. Among these technologies, the most mature, that offers the most reliable and predictable measurements, is the resistive strain gauges. Compared to the other technologies, resistive strain gauges can be used on steel, aluminum or titanium in a very effective way. Our sensors are manufactured with special aluminum alloy with long term stability of elasticity, high yield strength and are heat treated to deliver excellent creep characteristics for long term reliable measurements. To avoid accumulated errors that cannot be controlled by software, we minimize hardware nonlinearities. Temperature and gain offset compensation, ratiometric voltage conversion, symmetrical loading, EMI shielding, parasitic capacitance and inductance compensation are utilized to minimize errors and maximize the signal-to-noise ratio.

We expect that advances in AI will give a boost for Bota Systems F/T sensors. Contact detection, terrain classification, object recognition, robust grasping are only some of the outcomes that are expected from using our sensors with AI.

It is widely used in collaborative robots. The most common applications are polishing, quality testing, assembly, grinding or robot-assisted surgery. In the 6-axis force torque sensor video below you can see.

In recent years, research interest and innovation in robotics have exploded due to the dropping prices of key hardware components, advances in AI technology and the fact that robots have entered a state of sophistication that allows for extended real-life applications with enormous benefits. That is why the demand for FT sensors is expected to grow in the upcoming decade.

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