eTongue tastes tested, bringing food online without the fat
A new device will take online food fetishism to new heights, enabling users to taste the internet.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore have come up with a device that simulates a range of different flavours inside the mouth, with none of the associated calories or nutrients.
The concept may sound like a dream to those who spend hours trawling through food blogs in a mixed state of hunger and jealousy.
“We have found non-invasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations,” said PhD research scholar Nimesha Ranasignhe
“People with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesiser to simulate sweet sensations without harming their actual blood sugar levels. Cancer patients could use it to improve or regenerate a diminished sense of taste during chemotherapy,” he said
The current iteration of the device is something of a mouthful, requiring users to open wide and stay that way to get a continual stream of sensation.
Improvements down the line hope to allow people to easily and comfortably experience a virtual taste sensation during TV shows, cooking demonstrations, or at really any time.
The same team is working on a new project dubbed the ‘digital lollipop’, which lets users taste sugar for as long as they'd like to without actually consuming any.
To transmit the tasty messages, Ranasignhe's team developed ‘TOIP’; taste over internet protocol.
Delicious sensations are not just about taste though, so the team is working to add smell and textural elements to the device too.
“In a gaming environment we could come up with a new reward system based on taste sensations,” Ranasinghe said.
“For example, if you complete a game task successfully, or complete a level, we can give a sweet, minty or sour reward. If you fail we can deliver a bitter message.”