A recent experiment will be changing the lives of the foodies. No #happytummy involved, though, but sooner or later, we will be able to really taste virtual food with the use of high-tech electronics. Meaning, delicate flavors and exquisite textures of food can be experienced without needing actual grubs in our mouth. Sounds like going on a diet will be much easier in the future.
Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe, a researcher at National University of Singapore, has created a "digital lollipop
", and a spoon with electrodes that emulate different tastes. These inventions use electrical stimulation to prompt the production of flavors in the mouth. However, the method of electrical stimulation seemed to be less successful in simulating sweetness.
Dr. Ranasinghe's experiments led him and his collegue, Ellen Yi-Luen Do, to begin their study on emulation of food flavor and texture using thermal stimulation. They came up with a square tool with thermoelectric elements attached to it.
Dr. Ranasinghe and Do's experiment was included in the 2016 ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST) in Tokyo, where they demonstrated it to people. The technology works by touching the square with the tip of the tongue. The tool changes its temperature based on the food being simulated.
50 percent of the participants said the experiment is effective. They claimed they have tasted a spicy flavor when the gadget turns hot, and a kind of minty taste when it turns cold.
According Dr. Ranasinghe, his experiments will be useful to people on a restricted diet, as well as for diabetics. For us, on the other hand, satisfying our cravings will be totally guilt-free!
This promising invention, make me look forward to eating boxes of virtual donuts. Who's with me?