Research Papers

Modeling the Thermal Responses of the Skin Surface During Hand-Object Interactions

[+] Author and Article Information
Hsin-Ni Ho

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 3-137, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

Lynette A. Jones1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 3-137, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139ljones@mit.edu

These definitions are from “User’s Manual: Surface Texture Parameter” of SURFPAK-TC, Mitutoyo Corporation.


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 130(2), 021005 (Mar 27, 2008) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2899574 History: Received November 08, 2006; Revised July 20, 2007; Published March 27, 2008

The objective of this research is to analyze and model the decreases in skin temperature when the hand makes contact with an object at room temperature so that thermal feedback can be incorporated into haptic displays. A thermal model is proposed that predicts the thermal responses of the skin and object surface as well as the heat flux exchanged during hand-object interactions. The model was evaluated by comparing the theoretical predictions of temperature changes to those experimentally measured using an infrared thermal measurement system. The thermal measurement system was designed to overcome the limitations imposed by contact thermal sensors, and was able to measure skin temperature during contact, together with the contact area and contact force. The experimental results indicated that over the pressure range of 0.7310.98kPa, changes in skin temperature were well localized to the contact area and were affected by contact pressure. The pressure in turn influenced both thermal contact resistance and blood flow. Over the range of contact forces typically used in manual exploration, blood perfusion and metabolic heat generation do not appear to have a significant effect on the skin’s thermal responses. The theoretical predictions and the measured data were consistent in characterizing the time course and amplitude of the skin temperature change during contact with differences typically being less than 1°C between the two for pressures greater than 4kPa. These findings indicate that the proposed thermal model is able to characterize and predict the skin temperature responses during hand-object interactions and could be used in a thermal display that simulates the properties of different materials.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic representation of the heat transfer process during hand-object interactions

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Figure 2

Layout of the infrared thermal measurement system

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Figure 3

Calibration results for system evaluation

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Figure 4

Typical images of the contact area at each target contact force

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Figure 5

Relation between the contact force and contact area. Data were averaged across ten subjects and the means and standard deviations are shown. A logarithmic function has been fitted to the data.

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Figure 6

Model prediction (dashed line) and the mean of the measured decreases in skin temperature during 10s of contact (solid line). The standard deviations of the means are shown. Region 1: The contact pressure ranges from 0kPato3.14kPa; Region 2, from 3.14kPato5.90kPa; and Region 3, from 5.90kPato10.98kPa.

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Figure 7

Model prediction (dashed line) and measured (solid line) time history of the change in skin temperature during 10s of contact

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Figure 8

Average changes in skin temperature during 10s of contact as measured on the side of the finger pad. The error bars represent the standard error of the mean.



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