Systematic Evaluation of Soft Failures in System-Level ESD Transient Events


A system such as a human-assisting robot consists of many subsystems such as sensors, display, motors, and control. When an electrostatic discharge (ESD) occurs, it can disrupt the normal operation of any subsystem. This paper analyzes such events beginning at the tribo-charging down to the sensor disruption. The rolling wheels charge the robot, and a discharge occurs when it reaches the charging station. Based on the charge voltage, the discharge current is simulated using a simple switch model along with the loop impedance which limits the current. In multiple steps, the discharge current couples to the sensor. This coupling is represented as S-parameters obtaining the noise voltage at the sensor. This noise voltage is compared to the sensor's noise sensitivity threshold to reproduce the disruptive event. The model is validated with measurements. The simulation model can help system designers assess ESD risks without damaging hardware as well as efficiently design filtering components and effective on-board ESD protection.


Electrical and Computer Engineering


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant IIP-1440110.

Keywords and Phrases

Electric discharges; Electromagnetic pulse; Electrostatic discharge; Laser optics; Risk assessment; Robots; Scattering parameters; Signal interference; Uncertainty analysis; Voltage measurement; Charging station; Coupling paths; Electro-Static Discharge (ESD); Robot sensing system; Soft failure; Tribocharging; Electrostatic devices; Electromagnetic interference (EMI); Electrostatic discharge (ESD); Tribo-charging

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0018-9375; 1558-187X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2018