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Sensors: Force Sensing Resistors

FSRs as a Sensor Option

Force-sensing resistors (FSR), sometimes known as force-sensitive resistors, adapt their level of resistance in response to force, pressure, weight, or squeezing. When pressure or force is applied, resistance decreases. Conversely, when pressure or force is decreased, resistance increases. ​

Sample product applications include:

  • athletics​
  • medical devices, such as hospital beds and wheelchairs
  • personal safety​
  • wearable products such as shoe insoles, gloves, wristbands, hats, and shirts

FSR Construction and Function

FSRs consist of a two layers of a polyester base material. The top conductive layer is screen-printed with an FSR ink. Beneath the top layer is a conductive film and plastic spacer, or air gap. Beneath the spacer is a second printed circuit. 

In addition to simply detecting the presence or absence of force, FSRs respond to changes in the amount of force. The more pressure applied, the more the top conductive layer of the sensor is deformed, and the more contact it makes with the bottom layer, or substrate. Because the amount of contact between layers can vary, so can variations in the amount of resistance.​

FSR benefits mirror those of other sensors. Learn more about sensor benefits.

FSR Application: Medical Device

We needed a sensor that could detect the amount and points of pressure resulting from an individual's posture in a wheelchair. The Cubbison Company manufactured a sensor configured to work with our software. The sensor records how weight is distributed across the surface area of the wheelchair. That data is used to notify the caretaker that the person needs to be repositioned within a certain amount of time, an action that could help prevent blood clots."

Learn more about our work in the medical device industry.

FSRs respond to changes in the amount of force.

FSR sensors can serve as an affordable and effective human-machine interface (HMI). They are used often for medical and safety devices, and in industrial settings where detecting weight is essential.

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FSR Application: Golfing

Our client asked us to engineer a sensor that could be used as part of their virtual golf training system. We worked with them to build an FSR that can detect weight and visually share that information with golfers in real time to help them adjust their stance.

FSR Application: Music

Cubbison Company makes the sensors we use for our drum pads. We obviously need a drum pad design that gives us a variation in volume depending on how light or hard our touch is. The FSR pad they designed works great."