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Preference for Case Materials in Smart Devices: A Comparative Study in Korea, USA, and Tanzania


This paper investigates how people perceive the same material differently according to sex and nationality and what types of materials they prefer. We surveyed the sense of and preference for materials through questionnaires. The survey used five specimens made of zirconia, alumina, aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and polycarbonate, and was conducted in four cities: Seoul and Ansan (Korea), Atlanta (USA), and Arusha (Tanzania). The survey consisted of three tests (a tactile test, a visual with tactile test, and an acoustic test). Except for the visual with the tactile test, the tests were conducted without any visual information. Using a statistical method, it was found that people feel the same materials differently depending on their sex and nationality. Furthermore, evaluation items which are correlated with material preferences such as roughness, coldness, familiarity, stiffness and color brightness levels were found, with these results showing that the evaluation items related to the preferences differ depending on the person’s sex and nationality.

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This research was sponsored by Support Program for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (No. 2016H1C3A1903202) and International S&T Cooperation Program (NRF-2017K1A3A9A04013801) and the Basic Research Lab Program (2018R1A4A1059976) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT. Authors thank to Prof. Londa Schiebinger, Prof. Sun Wha Ok, and Mr. Ibrahim Jefferson for their valuable suggestions and comment as well as to Institute of Engineering Research at Seoul National University.

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Correspondence to Sung-Hoon Ahn.

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Kim, DR., Jang, KH., Chu, WS. et al. Preference for Case Materials in Smart Devices: A Comparative Study in Korea, USA, and Tanzania. Int. J. Precis. Eng. Manuf. 20, 749–767 (2019).

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  • Material preference
  • Sense difference
  • Sex
  • Gender