Have you ever seen food that looks so tasty you’ve wanted to lick your TV? Waggle those tongues – you’re in luck.
Remember that bit in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where they all tuck into the lickable wallpaper, and Grandpa Joe proves himself to be a bit of a cunning linguist? Once the realm of whimsical fiction, tasty technology is on the horizon.
Taste the TV (TTTV) is set to bring the flavours of the screen to your mouth, all through a simple lick. It’s still a prototype at the moment, but it’s hoped the lickable screen will create a ‘multi-sensory viewing experience’.
TTTV was developed by Professor Homei Miyashita, alongside around 30 students at Meiji University in Japan. The device works using a carousel of 10 flavour canisters which spray in combinations to create the taste of certain foods on the screen, such as chocolate. This flavour then rolls on hygienic film over the screen, which people can lick to taste, Reuters reports.
While it hardly seems the ideal bit of kit during the pandemic, the professor sees it as a way for people to connect with the outside world even when they’re stuck inside. ‘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,’ Miyashita said.
The team behind the TTTV have also produced other devices, such as a fork that actually makes food taste richer. Miyashita has also been pursuing the possibility of the spray technology being used on other everyday dishes; for example, the flavour of pizza on a slice of toast.
While anyone could benefit from it, the tele-taste tech could be useful for people learning to cook virtually, as well as tasting games and quizzes.
Yuki Hou, a student at the university, gave a demonstration where she told the screen she wanted to taste chocolate. Soon after, a chocolate flavour sample was sprayed onto a plastic sheet for her to try. ‘It’s kind of like milk chocolate. It’s sweet like a chocolate sauce,’ she said.
The prototype itself has been assembled over the past year. Should it pass into commercial distribution, one TTTV would cost around 100,000 yen ($875) to make.
The new technology has received a range of reactions online, but one sums it up best: ‘My television screens have always been lickable. They taste like TV.’
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