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This paper presents an energy-based control strategy to be used in robotic systems working closely or cooperating with humans. The presented method bounds the dangerous behavior of the robot during the first instants of the impact by limiting the energy stored into the system to a maximum imposed value.Two critical physical human robot interaction (pHRI) cases are studied, these are the collision either against a free or a clamped head. Safe energy values that can be used as reference were retrieved by analysing experimental data of energy absorption to failure of cranium bones and cervical spinal cords.The energy regulation control is implemented in a series elastic actuator prototype joint. The model and the control scheme of the system are analysed. The proposed control scheme is a position-based controller that adjusts the position trajectory reference in function of the maximum energy value imposed by the user. Preliminary results are presented to show that the actuator unit and this control scheme are capable of limiting the energy to a maximum imposed value.