On Monday, a group of Japanese researchers at a technology symposium in Berlin demonstrated a new chewing gum that shocks the tongue with electricity and whose taste never ends.
Such an invention, most likely, will never fall on the shelves of a supermarket near your house, but it can be very useful for future virtual reality technologies.
Most modern virtual reality systems manipulate vision and hearing. Only occasionally, researchers tried to use touch and taste, and until they reached at least some significant success in this field, besides, the devices for conveying tastes turned out to be too massive and unpleasant in appearance.
The Japanese device is similar to the most common chewing gum. But a small device is built into it – the diameter of a very small coin – covered with a film impermeable to saliva, and it is this that generates a constant electric current when a person chews such a gum. When electricity hits the user’s tongue, he does not feel pain, but then he has a sense of taste – now bitter or salty. And until the chewing stops, the person will still taste this taste.
Researchers believe that they can imitate other tastes, changing the strength and pattern of electrical voltage generated during chewing. If everything goes well, then the following virtual realities will involve a sense of taste, not just sight or hearing.