The problem of estimating the stiffness constants of the joints in industrial manipulators is addressed in this paper. It is shown that the model of the robot constrained by a rigid environment yields a simple relationship between variations of the motor coordinates and the forces arising at the contact with the environment. By exploiting the measurements of the motor positions sensors and of a force sensor located at the end effector a method is proposed to simply compute good estimates of the stiffness constants. Experiments have been made on the industrial robot SMART and the results are given and discussed.

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