Small insects perform agile locomotion, such as running, jumping, and flying. Recently, many robots, inspired by such insect performance, have been developed and are expected to be smaller and more maneuverable than conventional robots. For the development of insect-inspired robots, understanding the mechanical dynamics of the target insect is important. However, evaluating the dynamics via conventional commercialized force sensors is difficult because the exerted force and insect itself are tiny in strength and size. Here, we review force sensor devices, especially fabricated for measuring the tiny forces acting on insects during locomotion. As the force sensor, micro-force plates for measuring the ground reaction force and micro-force probes for measuring the flying force have mainly been developed. In addition, many such sensors have been fabricated via a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) process, due to the process precision and high sensitivity. In this review, we focus on the sensing principle, design guide, fabrication process, and measurement method of each sensor, as well as the technical challenges in each method. Finally, the common process flow of the development of specialized MEMS sensors is briefly discussed.
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