If you thought the Madeleine smell camera we profiled earlier this year was unusual, wait until you get a taste (no pun intended) of what scientists at the National University of Singapore are working on. They’re calling it a Digital Taste Simulator and as the name suggests, the device is allegedly able to recreate some of the most common flavors through technology.
The machine that Nimesha Ranasinghe and his team of researchers have built uses an electrode that sits on the tip of a person’s tongue. By using tiny alternating currents and subtle temperature changes, the simulator can trick the tongue into thinking it is tasting four common flavors: bitter, salty, sour and sweet.
The contraption is still in a very early phase and as such, it’s described as rather awkward and large. That isn’t deterring the team, however, as they are working to redesign the simulator so it can be used even when the user’s mouth is almost closed.
Another device dubbed the Digital Lollipop is in development which does essentially the same thing as the aforementioned simulator but with the ability to deliver different taste sensations – perhaps even sent from one user to another. They are in the process of seeing how this machine reacts to different regions of the tongue where as the simulator only works on the tip of the tongue.
The team is also working on creating other simulators such as those for smell and texture although these are said to be more difficult to produce.