A Japanese professor has taken another step toward developing a multi-sensory viewing experience by building a prototype lickable TV screen that can replicate food flavors.
Taste the TV (TTTV) is a device that uses a rotating set of 10 flavor cans that spray in combination to mimic the flavor of a particular food. The flavor sample is then rolled on hygienic film over a flat TV screen for the user to enjoy.
According to Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita, this technology can improve people’s connections and interactions with the outside world in the COVID-19 period. He says that distance learning for tasters and chefs and tasting games and quizzes are potential uses.
“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 collaborates with a group of roughly 30 students to create a range of flavor-related gadgets, such as a fork that enhances food flavor. He said that he made the TTTV prototype himself within a year and that a commercial version would cost around 100,000 yen ($875) to build.
Miyashita has also contacted several organizations about using his spray technique in products like a device that can add a pizza or chocolate flavor to toasted bread. He also wants to develop a platform where people can download and try tastes from worldwide.
One Meiji student demonstrated TTTV, claiming that she wanted to taste the sweet chocolate displayed on the screen. After a few attempts, an automated voice repeated the command, and flavor jets sprayed a sample onto a plastic sheet.
“It’s kind of like milk chocolate,” she said. “It’s sweet like a chocolate sauce.”