Bioinspired Ciliary Force Sensor for Robotic Platforms

Pedro Ribeiro, Mohammed Asadullah Khan, Ahmed Alfadhel, Jürgen Kosel, Fernando Franco, Susana Cardoso, Alexandre Bernardino, Alexander Schmitz, José Santos-Victor, Lorenzo Jamone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The detection of small forces is of great interest in any robotic application that involves interaction with the environment (e.g., objects manipulation, physical human-robot interaction, minimally invasive surgery), since it allows the robot to detect the contacts early on and to act accordingly. In this letter, we present a sensor design inspired by the ciliary structure frequently found in nature, consisting of an array of permanently magnetized cylinders (cilia) patterned over a giant magnetoresistance sensor (GMR). When these cylinders are deformed in shape due to applied forces, the stray magnetic field variation will change the GMR sensor resistivity, thus enabling the electrical measurement of the applied force. In this letter, we present two 3 mm × 3 mm prototypes composed of an array of five cilia with 1 mm of height and 120 and 200 μm of diameter for each prototype. A minimum force of 333 μ N was measured. A simulation model for determining the magnetized cylinders average stray magnetic field is also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7827912
Pages (from-to)971-976
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomimetics
  • force and tactile sensing
  • soft materials robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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