"Baby it's cold outside": the influence of ambient temperature and humidity on thermal feedback

Martin Halvey, Graham Wilson, Stephen A. Brewster, Stephen A. Hughes

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    Thermal feedback is a new area of research in HCI and, as such, there has been very little investigation of the impact of environmental factors on its use for interaction. To address this shortcoming we conducted an experiment to investigate how ambient temperature and humidity could affect the usability of thermal feedback. If environmental conditions affect perception significantly, then it may not be suitable for mobile interactions. Evaluations were conducted outdoors in varying environmental conditions over a period of 5 months. Results showed that the ambient temperature has a significant impact on people's ability to detect stimuli and also their perception of these stimuli. Humidity has a negligible effect for most humidity values. Despite this, previous thermal feedback design recommendations still hold in varying temperatures and humidities showing that thermal feedback is a useful tool for mobile interaction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '12)
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)9781450310154
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • ambient temperature
    • environmental factors
    • thermal feedback design


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