The Importance of Temperature Information in Virtual Training Environments
George Van Doorn, Mark Symmons and Barry Richardson
SimTecT 2009 Simulation Conference: Simulation - Concepts, Capability and Technology (SimTecT 2009)
Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia, 15 - 18 June, 2009
Thermal input is an important, but often unacknowledged, source of information in our interactions with the environment. Besides the extremes that alert us to discomfort and danger, even a small change in temperature adds to the richness of the haptic experience. Temperature assists us in establishing that we have made contact with a surface and it helps to determine what that surface might be. It is not yet clear how important or redundant that temperature information is, a question of particular importance to builders of virtual reality interfaces and environments. Indeed, it is possible that as an under-exploited channel, temperature could be used to code for other information not easily conveyed with current technologies. For example, temperature conveyed by Peltier tiles may intuitively code for hardness - and therefore material type - in simulations or teleremote applications. Temperature may also enhance the learning experience by increasing presence or immersion.
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