It may sound more like science fiction for foodies, but scientists in Singapore are developing a digital “lollipop” that zaps your tongue with different flavors like salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. The instrument, attached to a computer, is held up to the tongue to send electric currents signaling different areas of our tastebuds.
ABC News reports about the digital lollipop researchers at the National University of Singapore are developing. Electrical currents travel through the digital taste simulator, stimulating each of the four taste sensations on the tongue.
Once it is refined, the use of the digital lollipop may prove useful to people who suffer from diabetes or even cancer. Lead developer Nimesha Ranasinghe explains, “People with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesizer to simulate sweet sensations without harming their actual blood sugar levels. Cancer patients could use it to improve or regenerate a diminished sense of taste during chemotherapy.”
The way current taste simulation technology is progressing, experts believe it may not be too long until we start seeing more mainstream advances. Randall Reed, director for the Center of Sensory Biology and professor of Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins University predicts, “We could be building essentially sensory fireworks. I expect in another decade or two that we will be using combinations of either designed chemicals or something potentially electrical…that provide unique combinations of taste and smell that are novel and different.”
What do you think of news that the digital lollipop is currently in development?
Do you think an instrument like this can be useful to people with diabetes or those suffering from cancer?