"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 book

31 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
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventSIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI 2012 - Austin, United States
Duration: 5 May 201210 May 2012


ConferenceSIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • thermal feedback
  • mobile interaction
  • environment
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • ambient
  • non-visual feedback

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