We demonstrate a thermal tactile sensation display that can present various thermal sensations, namely cold/cool/warm/hot feelings, by varying the effective thermal conductivity of the display. Thermal sensation is one of the major tactile sensations and needs to be further investigated for advanced virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) systems. Conventional thermal sensation displays present hot/cold sensations by changing the temperature of the display surface, whereas the proposed display is the first one that controls its effective thermal conductivity. The device contains an air cavity and liquid metal that have low and high thermal conductivity, respectively. When the liquid metal is introduced to fill up the air cavity, the apparent thermal conductivity of the device increases. This difference in the thermal conductivity leads to the users experiencing different thermal tactile sensations. Using this device, the threshold to discriminate the effective thermal conductivity was experimentally deduced for the first time. This thermal tactile display can be a good platform for further study of thermal tactile sensation.
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