A digital lollypop which will eventually be geared towards smartphone devices will allow users to simulate salty, sweet, sour and bitter tastes.
The electrode, developed by the National University of Singapore, will alter temperature and vibration to trick the user into tasting different types of foods. According to Ph.D. scholar Nimesha Ranasinghe, the technology could eventually reach television and smartphones.
He says a gamer's experience may also be enhanced by adding an increased tasting dimension through the lollypop.
“In a gaming environment we could come up with a new reward system based on taste sensations. For example, if you complete a game task successfully, or complete a level, we can give a sweet, minty or sour reward. If you fail we can deliver a bitter message.”
The team is also working on TOIP, or taste over internet protocol. This is a format which will allow users to formulate a taste message to send to others through an Android app. However, Ranasinghe warns users may not be able to lick their smartphones any time soon as simulated flavours, such as more sweet and sugary flavours need to be added. Smell and textures would also need to be incorporated to produce a truly realistic experience.