Humans and robots are increasingly expected to coexist and interact in a number of industrial, medical, rehabilitation, and assisted-living environments. The physical proximity and interactions between humans and robots in these workplaces have created the need for ensuring human safety in these situations through a variety of design, sensing, and control approaches.

This special section is focused primarily on solutions for achieving safe physical human–robot interaction and includes a collection of five papers from researchers on three continents. The papers generally address new methods for modeling and analysis of physical human–machine interaction, or methodologies and mechanism designs for achieving safe physical human–robot interaction. Topics span from theory to application and from modeling to hardware development.

Two papers deal with modeling how humans regulate force and motion in physical tasks. Whereas one of these seeks to develop a framework describing how humans may develop an internal...

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