Flavor without food? Meet the digital taste interface.

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Flavor without food? Meet the digital taste interface.

 Heads up! 

You may be able to taste new products virtually soon. 

Advances in digital technology coming out of National University of Singapore are now making it possible to not only look at a product on the screen, but also to taste it – and no this doesn’t mean licking your smart phone or computer screen.  It is done by using a “taste simulator” called the “digital taste interface” which transfers electric current and heat to the tongue in a way that activates taste buds in the same way that happens when you’re actually eating something. 

The system isn’t perfect yet – it can simulate salt, sour, and bitter taste sensations, but not the 5th dimension known as umami ­– but it does have immediate applications particularly around behavioral medications via positive or negative tastes. For more info see the video below or this recent Huffington Post article.


If shoppers are able to taste “virtual vittles” as well as see and price new items before they buy them, the cost of product introduction and sampling will be greatly reduced. Shoppers will be able to evaluate many more products with less effort and virtually no risk.  Just imagine how this will encourage product innovation – and make “mass customization” more practical for much smaller market segments!

Thanks to BMC Food Segment member Larry Kaagan for suggesteding this Lookout

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