Perceived Cooling Using Asymmetrically-Applied Hot and Cold Stimuli

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heating, actuators, cooling, temperature sensors, skin, temperature measurement, temperature

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Temperature perception is a highly nonlinear phenomenon with faster rates of change being perceived at much lower thresholds than slower rates. This paper presents a method that takes advantage of this nonlinear characteristic to generate a perception of continuous cooling even though the average temperature is not changing. The method uses multiple thermal actuators so that a few are cooling quickly while the rest of the actuators are heating slowly. The slowly-heating actuators are below the perceptual threshold temperature change and hence are not perceived, while the quickly-cooling actuators are above the perceptual temperature change, hence are perceived. As a result, a feeling of decreasing temperature was elicited, when in fact, there was no net change in the temperature of the skin. Three sets of judiciously designed experiments were conducted in this study, investigating the effects of actuator sizes, forearm measurement locations, patterns of actuator layout, and various heating/cooling time cycles. Our results showed that 19 out 21 participants perceived the continuous cooling effect as hypothesized. Our research indicates that the measurement location, heating/cooling cycle times, and arrangement of the actuators affect the perception of continuous cooling.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

IEEE Transactions on Haptics, v. 10, issue 1, p. 75-83