Ever watch a food show on TV and thought, “I’d like to know what that tastes like”? Well, that might soon be possible thanks to a Japanese professor’s new invention, a lickable screen that lets you taste different food flavours.
Aptly called Taste the TV (TTTV), the prototype device uses a spray-mixing system from a carousel of 10 flavour canisters to try to realistically recreate the taste of a particular food. Flavours include sweet, sour, spicy and savoury. The flavour sample is applied to a transparent film – safe for licking, of course – and then rolled over the flat TV screen where the corresponding in-video food is situated.
Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita, who invented the device, said that this kind of technology can change the way we connect with the outside world during this pandemic, where remote interactions have become the norm.
“The goal is to make it possible for people to have the experience of something like eating at a restaurant on the other side of the world, even while staying at home,” he told Reuters.
Potential uses for the device being tested right now include distance training for cooks and sommeliers training and tasting games and quizzes.
Miyashita also said he wants to explore the possibility of offering menus that you can taste. “I'm thinking of making a platform where tastes from all over the world can be distributed as ‘taste content’,” he said. He said he wants to develop a platform where people can download and access different tastes regardless of where they are, the same way they would watch a movie or listen to a song.
The professor works with a team of about 30 students. Together, they have also developed a fork that supposedly enriches the taste of food, among other flavour-related devices. They built the TTTV prototype over the past year, noting that a commercial version would approximately cost 100,000 yen to make.
Miyashita is reportedly planning to work with companies about using his spray technology for applications that enhance everyday food like adding the taste of pizza to an ordinary slice of bread, for example.