A team of researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a new taste simulator that allows you to sample virtual food. The device consists of a small silver electrode that attaches to the tip of the your tongue. Through slightly shifting the electric currents and altering the temperature of the electrode, almost identical tastes to the natural flavors can be experienced.
The taste simulator that allows you to sample virtual food affects the areas of your tongue that are responsible for tasting sour, salty, sweet and bitter flavors.
The possibilities of this new device are endless. For example, researchers are discussing a new rewards system in the gaming community through this device. Leader of this research, Nimesha Ranasinghe, explained, “…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.”
Further possibilities can include mundane tasks such as online grocery shopping and sampling the food before buying. More monumental and important issues within healthcare be impacted as well. The researchers are currently working on a product that essentially functions as a digital lollipop. The device will be similar to the e-cigarettes, in that the user will be able to receive an almost identical experience without the full negative repercussions. Ranasinghe explains, “people with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesizer to simulate sweet sensations without harming their actual blood sugar levels.” He continues to point out the other positive health benefits by stating, “cancer patients could use it to improve or regenerate a diminished sense of taste during chemotherapy.”
This new taste simulator is certainly expected to draw attention and speculation within the next couple of months.