Last month in Spain scientists from the National University of Singapore unveiled their latest invention - the so called “digital lollipop”, which utilizes both electric and thermal technology to cheat your taste buds. The gizmo consist of a silver electrode that transmits alternating electric signals straight to your tongue and causes very rapid changes in its temperature. This way your taste buds are fooled that they taste one or several of the five main flavors – salty, sweet, sour, bitter or the “umami”. Yet, the technology is still in its early days and it's neither usable, nor complete, because in order to fully cheat your senses that the electrodes in your mouth are actually chocolate-dipped marshmallows, smell and texture must be somehow emulated as well.
Ph.D. Nimesha Ranasinghe, the head of the project, claims that the technology has a lot of potential and could be used in a number of cases. He implied that the taste-emulating technology might not only be used medically, but commercially as well, for example in the field of gaming. According to Dr. Ranasinghe, there is a whole new level of interaction between the game environment and the player when taste is included, because sweet rewards might be given to players who successfully complete a mission in the game, while a bitter taste might be the punishment for failing to complete a goal.