There must’ve been a time where most of us have thought about lickable versions of smartphones or watches. But it has become a reality as a Japanese professor, Homei Miyashinta, has developed the first prototype of a lickable TV screen that imitates several food flavours.
The device is called TTTV which stands for Taste the TV and appears to be the next step towards creating a multisensory viewing experience for people. The TTTV uses as many as 10 carousel flavour canisters to spray in combinations that can create the taste of a particular meal.
The flavour sample then rolls onto a hygienic film that stretches over a flat TV screen that the viewer can taste. Homei Miyashinta, a professor at Meiji University in Tokyo spoke about the technology to Reuters, stating, “In the Covid-19 era, this kind of technology can enhance the way people connect and interact with the outside world.
“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.”
Fascinatingly, this isn’t the first flavour-related device Miyashinta has made. He’s worked with, and currently works with, a team of around 30 students and has produced several similar devices including a fork that can make your food tastier.
Miyashinta said that he created the TTTV prototype over the past year and it would cost around 100,000 yen (£653) to make a commercial version of the product.
The professor has also been in talks with various companies about using the spray technology for devices that can apply a chocolate or pizza taste to a slice of toasted bread.
A 22-year-old student at Meiji University named Yuki Hou, went on to demonstrate the TTTV for reporters. She told the screen she wanted to taste sweet chocolate. Shortly after a couple of attempts, an automated voice repeated her order and flavour jets sprayed a sample on a plastic sheet.
Hou stated shortly, “It’s kind of like milk chocolate. It’s sweet like a chocolate sauce.”
Below is a demonstration video that shows off all the types of practical ideas on how the TTTV can be utilised. It can be used as a menu that gives people an idea of how a food will taste before they order, can be used to train wine testers, or even as a device that allows you to add flavours to crackers.
Since this is just a prototype, Miyashinta might have more features for the product than what we’ve seen. These could include being able to use it to taste things from movies or food TV shows we watch.
If you’ve always wanted to have a taste of that meal they’re cooking on a show where only the judges get to have a taste, perhaps with the TTTV, you too can have a taste. The implications for this technology, beyond as a lickable TV, in a VR or Metaverse setting are also very exciting; Imagine eating a meal in digital space, but a device providing the chance to taste the flavours of the meal.