Adding Temperature to Human-Computer Interaction

Tagged: Temperature, Computer Hardware, Technology
Source: technologyreview.com - Read the full article
Posted: 4 years 12 weeks ago

An experimental new game controller adds the sensation of hot and cold to users' experience of a simulated environment

Touch interfaces and haptic feedback are already a part of how we interact with computers, in the form of iPads, rumbling video game controllers and even three-dimensional joysticks. As the range of interactions with digital environments expands, it's logical to ask what's next: Smell-o-vision has been on the horizon for something like 50 years, but there's a dark horse stalking this race: thermoelectrics.

Based on the Peltier effect, these solid-state devices are easy to incorporate into objects of reasonable size, i.e. video game controllers.

In this configuration, just announced at the 2010 SIGGRAPH conference, a pair of thermoelectric surfaces on either side of a controller rapidly heat up or cool down in order to simulate appropriate conditions in a virtual environment.

The temperature difference isn't large - less than 10 degrees heating or cooling after five seconds, but the researchers involved discovered that, as with haptics, just a little sensory nudge can be enough to convince involved participants in a virtual environment that they are experiencing something like the real thing.

This graph shows that users responded to the change in temperature in a second (for cooling) or after about two and a half seconds (for heating), a difference they attribute to the inherent difference in sensitivity to hot or cold of the human palm.

The research was conducted by researchers at Tokyo Metropolitan University, with collaboration from the National Institute of Special Needs Education. Not coincidentally, among their aims for the device, they list temperature-transmitting interfaces for the blind.

 

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Axmezx
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Dubble post

Axmezx
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When its winter here in Belgium my hands are ice-cold and i never have any problems with it i can move my hands perfect

All though i don't play games Sugh as rock band

I mainly play mmos , fps

also i have have never had cold sweat yet in my hands when its ice cold might just be me

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dustyschaffner
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you CAN get cold sweats when playing games i have it happen to me all the time, but why would you want a cold controller? having a cold controller will make your body pull away blood to keep warm and then your fingers would freeze and become hard to move. you ever tried playing rock band on expert when you got the AC cranked? you cant do it because your fingers are so cold you can hardly move em

MrGreen
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I find it pretty cool. Say you really like FPS interactions in games... and there's this big explosion right next to you - BOOM! The control gets hot to simulate the heat from it. Then you're trekking in the cold mountains and it's cold.

Next step - smell!

Axmezx
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This is pointless in my eyes

they should make controllers that stay cold instead

because after holding a mouse or controller for a long period of time your hands get sweaty or really hot

Mr. Pizza
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I think it sounds... "cool" ;)

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3dGameMan
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Human Computer Interaction sounds... interesting ;)

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