Lickable TV Prototype Imitates Food Flavors

How to sample flavors from around the world without leaving your home.

The new year is a time for resolutions, and, for many, that means getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new … though health and mobility limitations often mean this is a reality for some and not all.

Well, a Japanese professor wants to ensure that people can still have new and exciting experiences without leaving the comfort of their homes. It’s just that the experience he has in mind might take some getting used to.

Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita has invented a prototype device that’s designed to bring a multi-sensory viewing experience to your TV. Besides sight and sound, what’s missing? Miyashita believes that it’s taste.

Dubbed “Taste the TV” – or TTTV – the device uses a carousel of ten flavor canisters that can be combined to mimic the taste of a particular food. The flavors can be sprayed onto a hygienic film across a television screen and licked by the viewer.

The team of developers has worked on past projects relating to taste enhancement, including the development of a fork designed to make your meal taste richer. Miyashita stresses the role the COVID-19 era has played in such developments, saying technology like TTTV allows isolated people to interact with others around the world in a safe way. He says, “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." 

But that’s not all.

Miyashita ultimately hopes to create a flavor database where tastes can be downloaded, much like songs are today.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, he’s been in talks with companies about how to enhance basic foods using his spray technology, for example, by applying a pizza or chocolate flavor to a basic slice of toast.

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