Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo
You shouldn’t expect Juicy Fruits or spearmint tastes just yet, however. When the device was tested out at an event in Japan earlier this year, the test subjects reported that the gum tasted salty or bitter. They likened it to the experience of chewing niboshi, dried infant sardines which are frequently eaten either as snacks or used for seasoning in soup stocks. That doesn’t necessarily sound all that appealing, but there’s certainly scope for expansion.
The researchers hope that they will eventually be able to induce sour, sweet and umami (a savory taste found in foods like fermented soy products, cheese, and shiitake mushrooms) taste sensations as well. The chewing gum was recently presented at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Germany.
It’s not just Meiji University that is focused on creating these kind of futuristic simulated foodstuff, either. Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe, currently director of the Multisensory Interactive Media Lab at the University of Maine, has created a number of similarly innovative projects — ranging from a programmable cocktail glass to futuristic chopsticks able to simulate flavor by zapping your tongue with electrodes.