A digital taste interface has been developed by Nimesha Ranasinghe at the National University of Singapore. The researcher believes that one day members of an audience will be able to taste the food by seeing any cookery shows on television or mobile phones.
The science involves the signals that produce the four major tastes of sweet, bitter, sour and salt – these are be transmitted through silver electrodes touching the tip of the tongue. The taste receptors on the tongue are tricked by varying alternating current and slight changes in temperature that is controlled by semi-conductors that cool and heat rapidly. The invention was presented at the ACM Multimedia conference in Barcelona, Spain, in October.
On being asked in an interview, Ranasinghe said that his team “found noninvasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations”. Looking at some healthcare applications for the device, he further added that “people with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesizer 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”.