Despite the rapid development of virtual reality technology, at the moment when immersed in virtual space involving only sight and hearing. Of course, there are various tactile technologies like vibration, force feedback and even such strange and humorous, but it is a workable solution, as Nosulus Rift. But with all this, to a full simulation is still far. On the other hand, perhaps very soon, in a virtual environment you can feel… the taste.
For the development of new technologies is responsible for two independent groups of scientists from the National University of Singapore and from University of Tokyo. Their developments are, if I may say so, to “simulate the taste sensations”.
The first development for the authorship of the Singapore inventors is created in 2013 and includes a special spoon with a grid of tiny electrodes. These electrodes when exposed to the taste buds of the tongue can imitate the bitter, sour and salty tastes. Unfortunately, the authors did not manage to get simulate the sweet taste, but it came from their Japanese colleagues.
The device of Japanese scientists working on the technology of the so-called thermal simulation: the working part of the device consists of tiny solid-state thermoelectric elements (or, if simpler, Peltier elements) that can be heated and cooled with an incredibly high speed. The algorithms of temperature control in such a way that upon contact with the tongue it causes a sensation of sweetness.
Both technologies are designed not only to make virtual reality more realistic, in terms of entertainment content, but also have a lot of applications that can help people. For example, such stimulation can give patients who have lost the ability to taste, to regain that feeling. Or, for example, the gadget may find applications in nutrition, when a person is very difficult to give up favorite foods in favor of useful, but not always delicious food.