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This paper analyzes the effects of the mechanical stiffness of end effector force sensors on the control of robot manipulators. Modeling of the general manipulator-sensor system is presented, along with a detailed investigation of a single joint case. Analytical and experimental results indicate that the use of a mechanically compliant sensor permits a more responsive force controlled system to be realized. In addition, an active compensator for sensor deflections was developed to recover the static positional stiffness of the manipulator.