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The Lickable Screen : Now taste your food on the screen

With every passing day, technology is rapidly being evolved. There are many new inventions which are taking place every day in some or other corners of the world. In this tech evolving world, Homei Miyashita, a researcher at Japan’s Meiji University has been successful in developing a handheld Lickable Screen that he claims can recreate any and every flavor found in food. This lickable screen is called  “NORIMAKI SYNTHESIZER“. It lets the user taste food without actually ingesting anything.

Norimaki is a type of seaweed used in Sushi. The device was named so because in one of the first few demos the Norimaki Synthesizer was wrapped in seaweed to provide additional scent in order to create the illusion of a person eating sushi.

Norimaki Synthesizer wrapped in seaweed

Working Principle :

Like an optical display that uses light of three basic colors to produce arbitrary colors, this display can synthesize and distribute arbitrary tastes together with the data acquired by taste sensors,” Miyashita said this in his research paper published on the Meiji University website. Like we see beautiful pictures on the screen being made up by adjusting the intensity of red, green and blue pixels, this gadget plays with the capacity of the tongue to sense the only 5 basic tastes which are :
a) Sweet
b) Salty
c) Acidic
d) Sour
e) Umami (a Japanese word for Savory )
These tastes get triggered in different combinations in different food by adjusting their levels. Every food item we eat contains all these 5 tastes but in different amount.

The 5 gel tubes in Norimaki Synthesizer that can simulate any flavor

Basic Working :

Demonstrating that the device undergoes the process of electrophoresis, the researchers pass an electric current (in a low no harm voltage ) to the device. Electrophoresis is a process that separates charged particles in a fluid using a field of electrical charge. The gel present in the device gets sorted so that the desired quantity of gel is drawn towards the user’s tongue while the rest of the gel moves back from the device’s opening. This could increase or decrease the strength of any certain taste combinations to create different pairings.

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Detailed working of the Lickable Screen by Homei Miyashita (Meiji University)

This invention might prove to be another milestone in the field of technology. If somehow this technology is integrated with a visual screen, it will allow people to see and taste any food item without actually eating it and adding up to their calories. One can enjoy the virtual meal which might also prove to be a weight management tool and keeping away food intolerance and related diseases.

Although the invention is no less than a miracle and a perfect example of advancement of today’s technology. But this device is only a prototype for now and you need to wait a bit more for this device to be released for the public.

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Ankit Gaurav
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