These Scientists Have Figured Out How to ‘Teleport’ Flavors
Imagine a world where you can make a drink at home, and then send the flavor to anyone in the world over the internet. According to a team of scientists in Singapore and the U.S., that idea isn’t science fiction: They’ve actually done it – at least in lemonade form – with just a sensor and a special high-tech cup full of water.
If the idea of “teleporting your lemonade,” as the researchers call it, sounds stunning, the way it’s actually accomplished may be even more unbelievable: The only technology used to emulate the taste on the receiver’s end is LED lighting and electrical stimulation. First, a sensor is put into the original lemonade, which measures the drinks color and pH value. That sensor is then plugged into an internet-correct reader that sends that data to whomever else would like to “taste” the beverage. Importantly, that person must have a proper custom-made connected tumbler on the other end. But once this special glass, which is filled with only water, receives the transmission, RGB LED lights simulate the color of the drink and electrodes in the mouthpiece stimulate the drinker’s taste buds into tasting the same level of sourness.
“Flavor is mainly how we perceive food or beverages in our mind and it consists of multisensory information including visual, taste, smell, among others,” Nimesha Ranasinghe, who led the research at the National University of Singapore’s Interactive and Digital Media Institute and the Georgia Institute of Technology, said according to FoodNavigator-USA. “Therefore, we hypothesized that by overlaying and enabling users to control these attributes via a mobile app, the flavor experiences can be augmented or adjusted according to their preferences.”
The researcher team said they tested the lemonade sharing device in a controlled scientific setting and found “no statistically significant difference between the real and virtual lemonades with regards to the perception of sourness when both the pre-taste and actual taste feedbacks are combined.” Still, no actual lemonade is transferred during this process, so you’re still on your own to fight off scurvy.