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A multi-axis sensor with micro-Newton force resolution has been designed and fabricated for the purpose of studying the biomechanics of insect locomotion. The sensor comprises a rigid central plate supported at each corner by thin beams with piezoresistive transducers sensitive to both normal and in plane forces. The sensor is configured to measure the instantaneous ground reaction force components produced by insects as large as cockroaches when they step onto the sensor plate during walking or running. This paper describes the results of analytical modeling and finite element simulations used to characterize the performance and mechanical behavior of the sensor microstructure.