Gloves which change temperature based on environment in Virtual Reality (VR).
August 2018 - Present
Prototyper, Interaction Designer, Unity Development
-General fabrication tools
Created for CS 294
Given my background in architecture, I was interested in exploring digital spatial design in virtual reality. I realized that current VR systems focused predominantly on audio and visual immersion; however, our other senses such as temperature affect our interpretation of a spatial experience - and a mismatch between the temperature of a virtual space and our physical sensations may break the feeling of true emotional immersion. For example, the following images each convey an expected temperature sensation:
Applying controlled temperature changes to a VR experience will increase emotional immersion in the Virtual Reality environment. Because of the many thermoreceptors in the hand, a glove may be able to induce perceived whole-body temperature change.
I worked very closely with a fellow colleague whose background was in computer science - he proposed using a peltier device with a heat sink and fan to both heat and cool the gloves and I proposed using a thermistor to monitor the safety of the internal temperature of the gloves (which I had experience with only from my architectural engineering days). Since I was comfortable with physical fabrication I took on the challenge of building the gloves. After MANY failed prototypes I figured out how to compactly affix all of these components into a glove...
My colleague handled assembling the electrical components onto a microcomputer.
●Active cooling fans
●UDP communication via Ethernet over USB
ENVIRONMENT DESIGN FOR TESTING
I also designed and built the environments to be run in the future user testing in Unity with another colleague. I was curious about if the localized temperature change we were inducing in the gloves would lead to a sense of whole-body temperature change so we made one environment that had an ambient cold temperature (mountain top) as well as an environment with a localized hot temperature (campfire).
PRELIMINARY/INFORMAL USER TESTING
Unfortunately, we were only able to run our survey and user testing on 3 participants before a deadline - however, all three participants mentioned that they felt an increased sense of immersion - particularly during the localized hot environment (campfire).
In the future we hope to build a more robust version and publish a study under an advisor.
“I feel like I’m really there because even though I’m looking up at the trees and not the campfire, I can still feel the presence of the fire at my hands.”