This Virtual Reality Company Is Taking the Food Out of Dining

Courtesy of Project Nourished

By Gillie Houston Posted May 02, 2016

This futuristic company wants to help you have your cake an not eat it, too.

If you've ever slogged through a calorie-cutting, carb-free, downright soul-sucking diet—all the while bemoaning your inability to taste your food vices of choice—here's a piece of tech you'll want to own.

"What if you can eat anything you want without regret?" is the big question posed by Project Nourished, a virtual reality company that aims to turn dining into a "gastronomical virtual reality experience." The technology, which is being pioneered by creator Jinsoo An, creates a combination of senses that fools your body into thinking it's gorging on pizza or cheeseburgers, rather than Jello-like wedges made from agar and pectin.

Just as Instagram and other photo-sharing sites have created a community of foodies able to visually consume food from around the world without moving an inch, Project Nourished is taking it to the next level, replicating the smells, tastes, and sensations of a dining experience, sans the actual food.

To create this effect, the futuristic device utilizes a virtual reality headset, an aromatic diffuser to replicate scent of the meal, and device called a "bone conduction transducer" that mimics the sounds of chewing to the ear drums via your soft tissues and bones. Rounding out the dinner party are a "virtual cocktail glass," "gyroscopic utensil," and 3-D printed food (made from agar agar, a gelatin-like substance) which "serves as a vehicle for articulating taste, texture, and consistency" of the calorie-free (and nutrient-lacking) "foods" you're consuming.

According to Project Nourished, the device's applications extend well beyond weight loss, and have the potential to benefit people recovering from eating disorders, those with allergies or diabetes, stroke patients unable to chew and swallow properly, and even astronauts. On a more fanciful level, they implore consumers to "imagine dining in clouds with Peter Pan in Neverland; enjoying foods that only exist in fiction."

Though still in its developmental stages, Project Nourished's "Pepa 001 Starter Kit" can be pre-ordered on their website for around $60—a steal for a potential lifetime of eating endless chocolate with no consequences. As for protein, calcium, and other necessary nutrients? You'll have to get those the old-fashioned way.

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