We have developed a toy sized humanoid robot with soft air-filled modules on its links which sense contact and protect the robot and any interacting humans from damaging collisions. This robot meant for robust physical interaction, is required to endure contact with children in the form of hugs and other playful interactions. It is, therefore, necessary to quantify the forces exerted during these interactions so that robots can be designed to both withstand these forces, as well as interact safely and intuitively in these situations. To quantify the range of forces exerted by children when performing both soft and strong hugs, we conducted a study in which 28 children (11 boys, 17 girls) between 4 and 10 years old hugged a pressure sensing doll while the pressure was recorded. We found a child’s maximum expected hugging force (2.623 psi for our setup) during free play. The data gathered in this study will guide the further development of our physically interactive robot.
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