Influence of interaction fidelity and rendering quality on perceived user experience have been largely explored in Virtual Reality (VR). However, differences in interaction choices triggered by these rendering cues have not yet been explored. We present a study analysing the effect of thermal visual cues and contextual information on 50 participants' approach to grasp and move a virtual mug. This study comprises 3 different temperature cues (baseline empty, hot and cold) and 4 contextual representations; all embedded in a VR scenario. We evaluate 2 different hand representations (abstract and human) to assess grasp metrics. Results show temperature cues influenced grasp location, with the mug handle being predominantly grasped with a smaller grasp aperture for the hot condition, while the body and top were preferred for baseline and cold conditions.
We explore a temperature illusion that uses low-powered electronics and enables the miniaturization of simple warm and cool sensations. Our illusion relies on the properties of certain scents, such as the coolness of mint or hotness of peppers. These odors trigger not only the olfactory bulb, but also the nose's trigeminal nerve, which has receptors that respond to both temperature and chemicals. To exploit this, we engineered a wearable device based on micropumps and an atomizer that emits up to three custom-made "thermal" scents directly to the user's nose. Breathing in these scents causes the user to feel warmer or cooler. We demonstrate how our device renders warmth and cooling sensations in virtual experiences. In our first study, we evaluated six candidate "thermal" scents. We found two hot-cold pairs, with one pair being less identifiable by odor. In our second study, pParticipants rated VR experiences with our device trigeminal stimulants as significantly warmer or cooler than the baseline conditions. Lastly, we believe this offers an alternative to existing thermal feedback devices, which unfortunately rely on power-hungry heat-lamps or Peltier-elements.
Voice is a rich modality for conveying emotions, however emotional prosody production can be situationally or medically impaired. Since thermal displays have been shown to evoke emotions, we explore how thermal stimulation can augment perception of neutrally-spoken voice messages with affect. We designed ThermalWear, a wearable on-chest thermal display, then tested in a controlled study (N=12) the effects of fabric, thermal intensity, and direction of change. Thereafter, we synthesized 12 neutrally-spoken voice messages, validated (N=7) them, then tested (N=12) if thermal stimuli can augment their perception with affect. We found warm and cool stimuli (a) can be perceived on the chest, and quickly without fabric (4.7-5s) (b) do not incur discomfort (c) generally increase arousal of voice messages and (d) increase / decrease message valence, respectively. We discuss how thermal displays can augment voice perception, which can enhance voice assistants and support individuals with emotional prosody impairments.
The heterogeneous and ubiquitous input demands in smart spaces call for an input device that can enable rich and spontaneous interactions. We propose ThermalRing, a thermal imaging smart ring using low-resolution thermal camera for identity-anonymous, illumination-invariant, and power-efficient sensing of both dynamic and static gestures. We also design ThermalTag, thin and passive thermal imageable tags that reflect the heat from the human hand. ThermalTag can be easily made and applied onto everyday objects by users. We develop sensing techniques for three typical input demands: drawing gestures for device pairing, click and slide gestures for device control, and tag scan gestures for quick access. The study results show that ThermalRing can recognize nine drawing gestures with an overall accuracy of 90.9%, detect click gestures with an accuracy of 94.9%, and identify among six ThermalTags with an overall accuracy of 95.0%. Finally, we show the versatility and potential of ThermalRing through various applications.
Recent advances have made Virtual Reality (VR) more realistic than ever before. This improved realism is attributed to today's ability to increasingly appeal to human sensations, such as visual, auditory or tactile. While research also examines temperature sensation as an important aspect, the interdependency of visual and thermal perception in VR is still underexplored. In this paper, we propose Therminator, a thermal display concept that provides warm and cold on-body feedback in VR through heat conduction of flowing liquids with different temperatures. Further, we systematically evaluate the interdependency of different visual and thermal stimuli on the temperature perception of arm and abdomen with 25 participants. As part of the results, we found varying temperature perception depending on the stimuli, as well as increasing involvement of users during conditions with matching stimuli.