Tasting Virtual Reality

Tasting Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is growing by leaps and bounds every day, but now at least two teams are taking VR where it's never gone before - to the tastebuds. 

Researchers from the National University of Singapore presented research that "showed they were able to simulate the taste of sweet foods using a system that rapidly heats and cools the tongue," according to IFLScience.com. In order to change the temperature of their tongues, experiment participants touched their tongue to the thermoelectric element that then stimulated the tongue. "Results from the preliminary experiments suggest that the participants were able to perceive mild sweetness on the tip of their tongue while using the proposed system," the researchers wrote.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo are focusing on another important aspect of eating - food texture. They placed electrodes on the muscles in the jaw that are used for chewing and, "by altering the frequency and length of an electric pulse, have been able to simulate levels of hardness and elasticity of virtual foods." According to IFLScience.com, these researchers have "tricked participants into thinking that real food they are physically chewing has a vastly different texture. Watch a video about this research here.