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.

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