A new generation of robots is being designed for human occupied workspaces where safety is of great concern. This research demonstrates the use of a capacitive skin sensor for collision detection. Tests demonstrate that the sensor reduces impact forces and can detect and characterize collision events, providing information that may be used in the future for force reduction behaviors. Various parameters that affect collision severity, including interface friction, interface stiffness, end tip velocity and joint stiffness irrespective of controller bandwidth are also explored using the sensor to provide information about the contact force at the site of impact. Joint stiffness is made independent of controller bandwidth limitations using passive torsional springs of various stiffnesses. Results indicate a positive correlation between peak impact force and joint stiffness, skin friction and interface stiffness, with implications for future skin and robot link designs and post-collision behaviors.