Assessment of Pain Onset and Maximum Bearable Pain Thresholds in Physical Contact Situations

Doyeon Han, Moonyoung Park, Junsuk Choi, Heonseop Shin, Donghwan Kim, Sungsoo Rhim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the development of robot technology, robot utilization is expanding in industrial fields and everyday life. To employ robots in various fields wherein humans and robots share the same space, human safety must be guaranteed in the event of a human–robot collision. Therefore, criteria and limitations of safety need to be defined and well clarified. In this study, we induced mechanical pain in humans through quasi-static contact by an algometric device (at 29 parts of the human body). A manual apparatus was developed to induce and monitor a force and pressure. Forty healthy men participated voluntarily in the study. Physical quantities were classified based on pain onset and maximum bearable pain. The overall results derived from the trials pertained to the subjective concept of pain, which led to considerable inter-individual variation in the onset and threshold of pain. Based on the results, a quasi-static contact pain evaluation method was established, and biomechanical safety limitations on forces and pressures were formulated. The pain threshold attributed to quasi-static contact can serve as a safety standard for the robots employed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2996
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • biomechanical limitation
  • collaborative application
  • collision safety
  • human–robot interaction
  • pain threshold


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