Students have invented a device that allows users to digitally alter the way a drink tastes.
‘Vocktail’ digitally overlays taste, smell and colour, allowing users to change their cocktail from a simple gin and tonic to whatever they fancy.
The invention is being showcased at London’s Future Tech Now event by students from the National University of Singapore.
It works by tricking the brain into thinking something tastes different to how it normally would.
Firstly, LED lights trick the eyes with colours, then bubbles trick the nose with artificial smells.
Then two electrodes on the rim of the glass send electrical signals to taste buds on the user’s tongue, mimicking all kinds of flavours.
The theory behind the tech is that flavour is a multi-sensory perception, based not only on what we taste, but also what we see and smell.
The students also created an accompanying smartphone app, which connects to the device via Bluetooth.
Users can for instance customise the colour of their drink, levels of orange, ginger and black pepper, plus salty, bitter and sour tastes.
David Tolley, a research engineer from the university’s CUTE Center, said: “We can do something as simple as taking soda water and putting like a lemonade smell and a yellow colour and a sour taste to it. Making it more similar to traditional lemonade.
“Or we can go completely off the wall and say we want some weird combination of cocktails.
“Like we can put some gin with overly orange, some pepper, some ginger, some really strong tastes and make it much more complex.”