How many of you have been waiting for a technological enhancement which increases our ability to not only see and hear things off the internet but also taste it? Well, to be honest, it will be safe to assume that almost everyone wants us to reach that specific time in the future, especially during these COVID times. And, to offer some great news, a team at Meiji University in Japan has designed a lickable screen and it just sounds too good to be true.

Japan Lickable Screen
©Homei Miyashita

While it might not fill you up or help you in enjoying a meal off the internet, however, what it actually does is trick one into believing that they are eating something like a cake or sushi.

This lickable screen device is called Norimaki Synthesizer and it uses five different types of gels made of electrolytes which corresponds with five universal tastes a tongue can distinguish between – acidic, bitter, salt, sweet and savoury or umami.

The entire device sounds great till now, right? However, much like every other prototype of great pieces of technology, it might be different (for lack of a better word) for some.

Norimaki Synthesizer
©Homei Miyashita

To use this device, the user has to place their tongue at the end of the device and the few completely harmless electrical charges are released by the device which can be increased or decreased to simulate a specific kind of taste. This makers of this device have said that it can be used to enjoy virtual meals with your friends and family, and can best of all, it won’t lead you to hog on to the weight that comes with it, hence, it can also be used as a weight management tool.

As per the team, they started out by comparing the manipulation of taste perception to how we perceive images on a monitor and then used a similar model to replicate the technology for the lickable screen device.

So, when we see an image on a monitor or any device, they see things in a series of pulsating red, green and blue pixels of different combinations and intensities.

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This is what the device looks like and the creator of the device, Homei Miyashita, mentions that the Norimaki Synthesizer consists of 5 different colour-coded gels that are made with the help of agar, a jelly-like substance. These colour coded gels have the 5 primary tastes that were stated above. When one presses the device against their tongue, all the gels get activated and then create the taste that the user is looking for.

As of now, the device has been perfectly able to capture the taste of gummy bears and sushi, however, the team believes that in the coming time they will be able to capture many more tastes from different parts of the world. Also, the size of this lickable screen device – Norimaki Synthesizer – currently is a bit bulky and certainly not completely ready to be available for the mass market, yet.

With some advancement in the future, we might be able to get our hands on the product and might even be able to carry it around.

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