A revolutionary new taste synthesiser that can create any flavour without the user eating or drinking anything promises to do for your tongue what a 3D movie does for your eyes.
Homei Miyashita, who invented the extraordinary device, calls it the Norimaki Synthesizer.
In the same way that TV screens or printed magazines use a limited number of colours to create every possible shade, the device uses five gels that cover the five different basic tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter and the mysterious umami when they make contact with the human tongue.
The Norimaki prototype is a fist-sized metal tube but, Homei tells Daily Star Online: The taste display can be miniaturised to the size of the tip of your pinky finger.
He added: "If a taste sensor could be miniaturised and mounted on a smartphone, you could send a taste SMS so people can share the taste of the food they find delicious."
One day we could be enjoying broadcast flavours in the same way we watch movies or listen to the radio today.
The device could also be used in combination with existing food and drink, suggests Homei: By attaching electrodes to the back of the neck or under the chin and sending electrical stimulation, it is possible to intensify or prolong the aftertaste of a drink.
The device could also make dieting easier.
A lot of healthy low-calorie food tastes pretty bland and disappointing to anyone who has been gorging on treats for years. The Norimaki could easily give dieters the luxury taste sensations they crave while theyre limited to eating low-calorie options.
Space travellers, too, are limited to restricted diets.
One way to keep astronauts spirits up when theyre on extended missions to Mars and beyond would be to give them a Norimaki to create the illusion of a more varied diet.
As you point out, said Homei. "It could contribute to broadening the variation of space food, but I think there are broader applications in the world of 'taste content'."
And of course in the world of virtual reality, adding the sense of taste will only add to the depth of the illusion.
The porn industry has been always been on the forefront of technology from video reorders to Paypal to VR and figures from the world of adult entertainment are already excited about the possibilities of simulating the sense of taste.
Brian Sloan, who is behind the leading automatic male sex toy Autoblow A.I., told Daily Star Online: We are always looking at all angles to make men's experiences more erotic and more lifelike with our machine, and if we were ever able to integrate taste or smell into the experience, we would be first in line to do so!
Men can be very reluctant to try new sex toys, but I think a taste or smell component would tempt a lot of people."
He continued: Using the Autoblow with a VR headset to add the ability to taste the action would change our entire industry.
Even without the immersion of VR, a miniaturised Norimaki could be as popular as a vape pen is today, enabling users to binge on chocolate, pizza or kebabs without having to put on a single pound.
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