Homei Miyashita, a researcher at Meiji University in Japan, invented a device that allows you to taste the food in your tongue without eating the food itself. He called the gadget “the norimaki synthesizer” (norimaki is one of the varieties of sushi in Japanese cuisine).
According to Miyashita, he was inspired by how easily our eyes can be deceived, seeing what does not actually exist. When you look at a screen with an image, technically you see microscopic red, green and blue pixels that combine with different intensities, but our eyes perceive it as a full-color image. The researcher wondered if a similar approach could be used to deceive the language.
Miyashita used five gels that trigger five different tastes when in contact with the human tongue. Color coded gels made from agar agar use glycine to create a sweet taste, sodium chloride for salty, magnesium chloride for bitter, citric acid for sour and glutamic sodium for umami taste (the taste of high-protein substances, released in an independent, fifth taste in China, Japan and other countries of the Far East).
The molecules in the gel move when an electric current is applied, which allows them to be sorted by size depending on the size of the pores in the gel. Combining the intensity of the molecules, Miyashita “taught the Norimaki synthesizer” to reproduce the taste of any food: from chewing sweets to sushi, without having to put a piece of food in his mouth.
According to the inventor, in its current form, the gadget is a bit cumbersome, but it can be reduced to the size of a compact device, such as a vape. But instead of simulating smoking, the user will be able to taste chocolate or milk shake in his mouth without consuming a single calorie.