A Haptic Thermal Interface: Towards Effective Multimodal User Interface Systems

C.S. Nam, J. Di, L.W. Borsodi, and W. Mackay (USA)


Thermal user interface, human thermal perception, virtual environments, haptic force-feedback, thermal unit testing


Despite powerful sensory inputs (e.g., tactile and force feedback), haptic interface systems are still in an early stage of development for accomplishment of a high degree of realism. One of the key elements missing is the ability to present thermal information, such as the thermal conductivity and temperature of an object being manipulated. This real time information is one of the obstacles to the wider application of haptic interface systems. However, thermal feedback should be incorporated into haptic interface systems to deliver more convincing and intuitive presence in virtual environments or teleoperation systems. This paper describes an advanced thermal interface system developed to provide the human operator with thermal information of an object being manipulated accurately and with no overt time delay.

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