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Force and torque sensor

Measuring six axes

Published 2017-11-02

Optoforce (Hungary) has developed a sensor for robot applications. The 6-axes product features an optional CAN interface.

The optical sensors are designed for robot applications (Photo: Optoforce)

The multi-axial force/torque sensor equips robots with a sense of touch. Due to the highly deformative property of silicone, the sensor guarantees measurements up to 200 percent overload. Even after total deformation during 600-percent overload, the silicon regains its original form, and is able to measure forces with the same precision. Additionally, the product resists sudden shocks.

By default the sensor comes with CAN connectivity. Optionally, a gateway for Ethernet is available. The CAN communication uses just two messages in base frame format (11-bit ID), one received from the host controller and one transmitted. They support a proprietary segmentation protocol to transmit the 16-byte, 22-byte, and 34-byte application information. With CAN FD, they could be transmitted and be received without protocol overhead. The data is protected by an application checksum. The data is transmitted periodically with 100 Hz. The preset CAN-IDs are reconfigurable by means of dedicated CAN messages. Via CAN the user can command to save the new IDs. The default bit-rate is 1 Mbit/s.

The sensor resolution is 0,1 N or 0,001 Nm (Photo: Optoforce)

The company situated in Budapest was founded in 2012. Ákos Tar and József Veres started a project to build a two-legged robot. One of the focus areas was to develop the senses of the robot so they needed to measure forces acting on the leg along the X-Y-Z axes. They developed a layered structure in which silicone would actually change its form more under a greater load and this made measurement in all directions possible. Today, the company is supported by investors.