Sensing skins for robots: product developments and recent research

Robert Bogue (Consultant, Okehampton, UK)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 4 April 2020



This paper aims to provide details of the use of sensing skins by robots through reference to commercial products and recent research.


Following an introduction, this paper first summarises the commercial status of robotic sensing skins. It then provides examples of recent safety skin research and is followed by a discussion of processing schemes applied to multiple sensor skin systems including humanoid robots. Examples of research into soft, flexible skins follow and the paper concludes with a short discussion.


The commercialisation of sensing skins has been driven by safety applications in the emerging cobot sector, and a market is emerging for skins that can be retrofitted to conventional robots. Sensing skin research is widespread and covers a multitude of sensing principles, technologies, materials and signal processing schemes. This will yield skins which could impart advanced sensory capabilities to robots and potential future uses include agile manipulation, search and rescue, personal care and advanced robotic prosthetics.


This paper provides details of the current role of sensing skins in robots and an insight into recent research.



Bogue, R. (2020), "Sensing skins for robots: product developments and recent research", Industrial Robot, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 313-318.

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