HOMEI MIYASHITA DEVELOPS 'TASTEABLE' TV SCREEN
Taste what you watch with Homei Miyashita's Taste the TV.
There are many TV cooking shows that one can simply not get enough of — whether it is The Great British Bake Off, Chopped, Kitchen Nightmares, Good Eats, or MasterChef, there is something for everyone. When watching these shows, have you wished you could taste whatever's there on the screen? That wish could soon become a reality.
Homei Miyashita, a professor at Meiji University, developed a prototype called Taste the TV (TTTV) that we can simply describe as something out of Doraemon's magic pocket. TTTV uses a carousel of 10 canisters to create the exact taste of a particular food, which is then applied on a lickable hygienic film over a flat TV screen.
The pandemic-induced remote lifestyle inspires Miyashita to develop a way to have a "remote lifestyle" that is immersive. Since Disneyland and Universal Studios virtual tours are a thing, Miyashita approached a different aspect of living experience — tasting food remotely — when he initiated this project.
"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.
"We couldn't taste the food in restaurants which are far away when we stayed at home," he added. "I wanted to somehow make this (tasting food) a reality so that people can experience various tastes (of food) which are far away while staying at home."
Cost and method
Miyashita worked with a group of students who created various devices related to taste in developing the TV, including a fork that makes food taste better. The professor worked on the prototype since 2020, and it cost him around 100,000 yen (Rp 12,393,233) to make.
The TTTV can reproduce various flavors due to its ten canisters, which represent ten basic tastes, such as sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and savory. So far, the machine can recreate the exact taste of 20 types of food samples.
Miyashita is planning to develop more tastes from across the globe with his invention. "I am thinking of making a platform where tastes from all over the world can be distributed as 'taste content'," he said.
"It's the same as watching a movie or listening to a song that you like. I hope people can, in the future, download and enjoy the flavors of the food from the restaurants they fancy, regardless of where they are based in the future."
Demonstration and application
In a demonstration, a student told the machine that she wanted to try chocolate. After a while, a transparent film slid out on the TV screen. She then licked it and said, "It's kind of like milk chocolate. It's sweet like a chocolate sauce". During another demonstration, the screen was showing a pizza, and the person who licked it said it tasted like rich cheese.
On a person-to-person relationship scale, the TTTV enabled someone to have a video call to taste the other person's food remotely. On top of that, the prototype has a feature to check the user's salt and sugar intake, which the user can later compare with WHO standards.
Although it's only a prototype, Miyashita plans to make it available for commercial sales. The foundation technology of the TTTV could be used to enhance the teaching experience of students by allowing them to experience different flavors.
The professor also noted that this technology could be used for shows that involve food and tasting games. Remote culinary students can use the TTTV to taste their instructor's cooking as well.
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