Many of us get jealous of all those science fiction movies, where the characters can make delicious food out of nothing. Fortunately, the future is already here – there are virtual reality devices that can trick our senses.
Turn water into wine
Shortly, emojis will not be enough to explain that feeling you get from the taste of a new drink. Soon, you will be able to use this tricky device, invented by a team of researchers from Singapore. Nimesha Ranasinghe had been exploring mechanisms of imitating the nerve impulses, which respond to our sense of taste, for more than three years. With a 3D printed taste detector, this passionate engineer has made a series of tests to form electrical tongue stimulation. He highlights the importance of color and certain electric impulses for a person to defy, whether the flavor is salty (blue), sour (green), bitter (red), etc. After this, he started to work on taste stimulation gadgets.
The previous version of “virtual lemonade,” called FunRasa, had been shown at the TEI 2014 conference. It looked like a glass with a twisting bottom, which can imitate a certain flavor – salty, sour or some others in 3 possible grades. Despite drinking ordinary water, you will taste something else. Other devices, invented during the Taste+ project are a spoon, a soup bowl, and chopsticks. Also, as a separate project, there is an electronic lollipop for all those candy lovers out there.
Send the flavor of lemonade to a friend
The improved version of virtual lemonade appeared at the TEI 2017 conference in March. Now, this bottle has access to the Internet and a plastic friend – a taste scanner. How it works: the lemonade is scanned with color and Ph sensors, then this data transfers through the Internet to the simulating cup, which represents a certain color with LED lights onto plain water and sends impulses to your tongue when you drink it. “People are always posting pictures of drinks on social media—what if you could upload the taste as well? That’s the ultimate goal,” says researcher Nimesha Ranasinghe.
This is about much more than just posting on social networks. So, before saying that there are more valuable ways of using knowledge, remember the problems we come across in the modern world. The first one is people who have a bad sensitivity to taste – for example, 1 of 3 seniors in Singapore don’t eat properly, because all food tastes the same to them, and in the majority of cases this leads to muscle weakness. The second – people who are too obsessed with unhealthy food because it tastes good. This can lead to high blood pressure or obesity, which can potentially cause an early death. Finally – people who can’t eat certain products due to diabetes or allergies. So the device, which can imitate flavor without food supplements, can help people have a normal diet without losing the taste of the products they like.
The researcher has also developed a temperature and the wind simulating accessory for virtual reality, one of his next plans is to mimic smell.
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