Scientists at the National University of Singapore are developing a technology that could transform the way we watch cooking shows. Known as the Digital Taste Interface, this cutting-edge simulator would allow us to experience the taste of food and drink electronically.
The technology doesn't rely on any sort of chemicals to produce familiar flavors. Instead, it uses electrodes and thermal manipulation to stimulate taste buds and reproduce basic taste sensations -- sweet, sour, salty and bitter -- all done noninvasively by placing small sheets of metal on the tongue.
Dr Nimesha Ranasinghe, a university engineer, also notes the importance of additional senses to support the entire tasting experience:
"To simulate flavours we need to go beyond taste and incorporate smell, texture, colors and other modalities, because flavor is a cross sensory experience with multiple senses. At the moment we are expanding our technology to add the sense of smell into the experience, with the hope that by doing so we can expand the varieties of flavor sensations we can generate digitally."
Digital Taste Interface isn't just for a digital food experience, either; researchers are also looking to use the technology in gaming systems (ie: rewarding wins with sweet flavors and losses with bitter tastes) and medical situations. Those with Diabetes, for example, would ideally be able to taste the sweetness of candy without spiking their blood sugar levels.
Even though this technology is still in development, Digital Taste Interface could be the future of tasting our TV and online entertainment.