Researchers in Singapore create electric lollipop

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lollipopsasstA group of researchers in Singapore are building a device that simulates taste by alternating electrical current to produce bitter, salty, sweet, and sour sensations on the tongue, reports New Scientist, enabling it to reproduce specific tastes.

The technology, which is still in development, would have a range of uses beyond cooking shows. It could be used to enhance video games or improve the quality of life for people with cancer or diabetes.

The team is also working on a “digital lollipop” that will simulate a sugar rush without the sugar. The researchers have also developed a data format to communicate different tastes. They’re calling it TOIP — taste over internet protocol.

The synthesiser was developed by a team led by Nimesha Ranasinghe at the National University of Singapore, who thinks that one day TV viewers will be able to taste the food in cookery shows, too.

Signals that reproduce the four well-known major taste components – salt, sweet, sour, bitter – are transmitted through a silver electrode touching the tip of the tongue. The taste receptors are fooled by a varying alternating current and slight changes in temperature controlled by semiconductor elements that heat and cool very rapidly.

“We have found noninvasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations,” says Ranasinghe. The device is a little clunky at the moment, but redesigning it will mean it can be in contact with the tongue when the user’s mouth is almost closed. It was presented at the ACM Multimedia conference in Barcelona, Spain, last month.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

A group of researchers in Singapore are building a device that simulates taste by alternating electrical current to produce bitter, salty, sweet, and sour sensations on the tongue, reports New Scientist, enabling it to reproduce specific tastes.

Reading Time: 1 minute

lollipopsasstA group of researchers in Singapore are building a device that simulates taste by alternating electrical current to produce bitter, salty, sweet, and sour sensations on the tongue, reports New Scientist, enabling it to reproduce specific tastes.

The technology, which is still in development, would have a range of uses beyond cooking shows. It could be used to enhance video games or improve the quality of life for people with cancer or diabetes.

The team is also working on a “digital lollipop” that will simulate a sugar rush without the sugar. The researchers have also developed a data format to communicate different tastes. They’re calling it TOIP — taste over internet protocol.

The synthesiser was developed by a team led by Nimesha Ranasinghe at the National University of Singapore, who thinks that one day TV viewers will be able to taste the food in cookery shows, too.

Signals that reproduce the four well-known major taste components – salt, sweet, sour, bitter – are transmitted through a silver electrode touching the tip of the tongue. The taste receptors are fooled by a varying alternating current and slight changes in temperature controlled by semiconductor elements that heat and cool very rapidly.

“We have found noninvasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations,” says Ranasinghe. The device is a little clunky at the moment, but redesigning it will mean it can be in contact with the tongue when the user’s mouth is almost closed. It was presented at the ACM Multimedia conference in Barcelona, Spain, last month.

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