Transmission of Taste gets a Step Closer to Reality

Back in 2018, when I became a SIG champion for the Cambridge Wireless Future Devices & Technologies group, I talked about the outstanding research areas that are yet to be exploited. In my introduction presentation (here), I talked about how we have yet to exploit smell and taste as input and output. This month, taste as an output just got a step closer.

Last year, researchers from Meiji University in Japan invented what’s being described as a taste display that can artificially recreate any flavour by triggering the five different tastes on a user’s tongue. The video describing 'Norimaki Synthesizer' is worth a watch here.

Now, Homei Miyashita, a professor at Meiji University in Tokyo with a team of about 30 students, has developed a prototype lickable TV screen that can imitate food flavours, another step towards creating a multisensory viewing experience. Quoting from The Guardian:

The device, called Taste the TV (TTTV), uses a carousel of 10 flavour canisters that spray in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The flavour sample then rolls on hygienic film over a flat TV screen for the viewer to try.

Miyashita works with a team of about 30 students that has produced a variety of flavour-related devices, including a fork that makes food taste richer. He said he built the TTTV prototype over the past year and that a commercial version would cost about 100,000 yen (£653) to make.

Potential applications include distance learning for sommeliers and cooks, and tasting games and quizzes, he said.

Miyashita has also been in talks with companies about using the spray technology for devices that can apply a pizza or chocolate taste to a slice of toasted bread.

Yuki Hou, 22, a student at Meiji University, demonstrated TTTV for reporters, telling the screen she wanted to taste sweet chocolate. After a few tries, an automated voice repeated the order and flavour jets spritzed a sample on to a plastic sheet.

“It’s kind of like milk chocolate,” she said. “It’s sweet like a chocolate sauce.”

Embedded below are two videos, both worth watching. The first is introduction to TTTV and the second is IEDM 2021 Keynote on 'Integrating Taste Technology with Audiovisual Media'

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