Surface haptic rendering of virtual shapes through change in surface temperature

Changhyun Choi, Yuan Ma, Xinyi Li, Sitangshu Chatterjee, Sneha Sequeira, Rebecca Friesen, Jonathan R. Felts, M. Cynthia Hipwell

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Compared to relatively mature audio and video human-machine interfaces, providing accurate and immersive touch sensation remains a challenge owing to the substantial mechanical and neurophysical complexity of touch. Touch sensations during relative lateral motion between a skin-screen interface are largely dictated by interfacial friction, so controlling interfacial friction has the potential for realistic mimicry of surface texture, shape, and material composition. In this work, we show a large modulation of finger friction by locally changing surface temperature. Experiments showed that finger friction can be increased by ~50% with a surface temperature increase from 23° to 42°C, which was attributed to the temperature dependence of the viscoelasticity and the moisture level of human skin. Rendering virtual features, including zoning and bump(s), without thermal perception was further demonstrated with surface temperature modulation. This method of modulating finger friction has potential applications in gaming, virtual and augmented reality, and touchscreen human-machine interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabl4543
Pages (from-to)eabl4543
Number of pages9
JournalScience Robotics
Issue number63
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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