Engineers in many industries need reliable ways to measure compressive force, either during product development or as an embedded component within a product or device. In industrial automation, machines must measure and regulate the forces they apply to the objects with which they interact. Medical devices and human-machine-interfaces (HMIs) need to measure force as well, albeit on a much smaller and more precise scale.
When considering force-sensing technologies for an application, engineers must take power requirements, form factors, sensor accuracy, upfront and operating costs, and other factors into their choice. In a broad sense, load cells and force-sensitive resistors (like FlexiForce touch sensors) are the two most common methods.
This article breaks down the specific differences between load cells and force-sensitive resistors.