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Users’ Thermal Response to a Simulated Tablet Computer Surface

[+] Author Affiliations
Han Zhang, Alan Hedge

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Beiyuan Guo

Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China

Paper No. IPACK2015-48787, pp. V003T04A023; 6 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems collocated with the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Volume 3: Advanced Fabrication and Manufacturing; Emerging Technology Frontiers; Energy, Health and Water- Applications of Nano-, Micro- and Mini-Scale Devices; MEMS and NEMS; Technology Update Talks; Thermal Management Using Micro Channels, Jets, Sprays
  • San Francisco, California, USA, July 6–9, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5690-1
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


It has been reported that tablet computer surface temperatures can rise from room temperature up to 47°C. Holding a warm or hot computer surface might cause user’s thermal discomfort and possibly skin burns. The use of a tablet often requires holding the device for prolonged time with multiple fingers and palm areas in contact with the tablet lower surface. Previous research has not tested whole finger/palm thermal sensation at a specific surface temperature in a moderate environmental heat range. The current research investigates user’s thermal sensations on the palm and fingers, in response to warm/heat stimuli in a tablet size device with a longer contact duration than used in previous studies, to provide ergonomic design guidelines for electronic device designers and manufacturers. A tablet-size heating surface was developed comprising of nine rectangular aluminum heating pads connected with computer-controlled heaters and thermal sensors. Participants were asked to report their finger/palm thermal sensation and comfort every 45 seconds when they held the prototype for 90 seconds. Results showed a positive linear relationship between surface temperature and user’s thermal sensation and thermal discomfort. Duration of holding the prototype had no significant effect on user’s thermal comfort, but it did significantly affect thermal sensation ratings.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: Computers



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