Da Vinci to Pizzas: Load Cells in Robotics

Published On: May 11 2017


Load cells have a surprising number of varied uses, from enabling environmentalists to weigh large animals in the wild to safety testing for spaceship parachutes. With new technological advances being introduced at breakneck speed, it’s no wonder that load cells have found their way into the development of all branches of technology, including robotics.

Creating Lifelike Movements

Scientists have been building robots for hundreds of years; the first humanoid robot design being credited to Leonardo da Vinci. However, it’s only in modern times that their movements can start replicate real humans closely. This is thanks, in part, to load cells.

Small in size, load cells have been used to make great leaps in robotics by measuring the force or pressure of movements at joints in robotic limbs.  The accumulated data has led to the development of robots able to replicate human movements in different circumstances, including regaining their balance if they detect that they are going to fall.


Teaching Robots

Robots are often programmed to perform specific tasks. Previously, industrial robots were built for a particular purpose or single task. The inclusion of load cells in advanced robotics means that robots can now learn new tasks.

A great example of this is a robot that has learned how to roll pizza dough to a particular thickness. While a real person teaches the robot the movements initially, load cells record these movements. Once the robots have learned to do the movements for themselves, they can even pass the information on to other robots.


Rehabilitation with Robots

One of the most promising areas in robotics is its use for human rehabilitation. The use of load cells in rehabilitation techniques to gain back movement in limbs has led to vast improvements and innovations. Load cells in robotic gloves and legs mean that the amount of movement that a patient does have can be measured, and therefore their rehabilitation program can be tailored to their individual needs.

If a patient is to avoid becoming dependent on an external robotic limb, it cannot completely replace the patient’s ability to move for themselves. Instead, robotics limbs measure and provide the right amount of support throughout the treatment so that the patient’s own limb and supporting muscles can become stronger. This has even been developed as far as producing an exoskeleton for paraplegics that will move the patient’s joints for them, enabling them to walk on their own.


Contact us for your load cell robotic needs

If you are developing your own robotic application, contact us to find out how we can help you with your load cell needs. We design, manufacture and supply high quality load cells for a broad range of uses, so are sure to be able to help you find the right choice for your project, research or product development. Call us today to find out more.