Heat & Temperature


We're all used to optical illusions, but illusions where the sense of touch are concerned are somewhat less common. This exhibit presents the visitor with a tactile illusion by fooling the sense of hot and cold. The visitor places an arm on a set of copper coils. One set of coils are cold, another set are warm and a third set alternates warm and cold. On the all warm or all cold coils one feels as expected, but the mixed coils feel very hot. This is because two different nerve cells are being triggered. One set lets you know if you've touched and extreme temperature (hot or cold) another set tells you whether what you've touched is warm or cool. By touching a very cold and a warm coil, the mixed signals sent to your brain tell you very warm or HOT!

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