Reuters in Tokyo
December 23, 2021
A Japanese professor has developed a prototype lickable TV screen that can imitate food flavours, another step towards creating a multisensory viewing experience.
The device, called Taste the TV (TTTV), uses a carousel of 10 flavour canisters that spray in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The flavour sample then rolls on hygienic film over a flat TV screen for the viewer to try.
In the Covid-19 era, this kind of technology can enhance the way people connect and interact with the outside world, said Homei Miyashita, a professor at Meiji University in Tokyo.
“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 said.
Miyashita works with a team of about 30 students that has produced a variety of flavour-related devices, including a fork that makes food taste richer. He said he built the TTTV prototype over the past year and that a commercial version would cost about 100,000 yen (£653) to make.
Potential applications include distance learning for sommeliers and cooks, and tasting games and quizzes, he said.
Miyashita has also been in talks with companies about using the spray technology for devices that can apply a pizza or chocolate taste to a slice of toasted bread.
Yuki Hou, 22, a student at Meiji University, demonstrated TTTV for reporters, telling the screen she wanted to taste sweet chocolate. After a few tries, an automated voice repeated the order and flavour jets spritzed a sample on to a plastic sheet.
“It’s kind of like milk chocolate,” she said. “It’s sweet like a chocolate sauce.”