Heat Pain Threshold Modulation By Experiencing Burning Hands in Augmented Reality

Heat Pain Threshold in degree Celsius measured with the Method of Limits without the use of AR (left) and when participant’s were experiencing burning hands in AR (right).


Visual stimuli can modulate the temperature at which people perceive heat pain. However, very little research exists on the potential use of Augmented Reality (AR) to modulate the heat pain threshold (HPT). In this paper, we investigate whether participants’ HPTs can be modulated observing virtual flames on their hands through a video see-through head-mounted display (VST-HMD). In a pilot study (n = 7), we found that rendering virtual flames had a significant effect (p < 0.05) on the HPT. The virtual flames on the participant’s hand led to a decrease in the temperature at which they would perceive pain related to heat. These results indicate that AR-induced stimuli may be an effective way to achieve top-down modulation of the experience of pain.

Proceedings - 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality Adjunct, ISMAR-Adjunct 2021
Dr. Daniel Eckhoff
Dr. Daniel Eckhoff