A Soft Robotic Cover with Dual Thermal Display and Sensing Capabilities
We propose a new robotic cover prototype that achieves thermal display while also being soft. We focus on the thermal cue because previous human studies have identified it as part of the touch pleasantness. The robotic cover surface can be regulated to the desired temperature by circulating water through a thermally conductive pipe embedded in the cover, of which temperature is controlled. Besides, an observer for estimating heat from human contact is implemented; it can detect human interaction while displaying the desired temperature without temperature sensing on the surface directly. We assessed the validity of the prototype in experiments of temperature control and contact detection by human hand.