Futuristic chopsticks simulate flavor by zapping your tongue with electrodes

smart chopsticks zap your tongue combined procedure

Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe doesn’t seem content with the way we consume food and drink here in 2018. The brains behind a previous project that lets you send lemonade over the internet, and a programmable cocktail glass able to trick your senses into thinking you’re drinking just about anything you can imagine, Ranasinghe displays the kind of disregard for culinary convention that would make even the most avant-garde chef balk.

Now he’s back with a new project — and this one’s a real doozy. Created at the National University of Singapore, Ranasinghe developed a pair of chopsticks and Miso soup bowl able to add seasoning to your food through the use of tongue-zapping electrodes. OK, so sticking a combination of eating or drinking utensil and low-powered cattle prod in your mouth might not be to everyone’s taste (pun intended), but it could actually make you lead a healthier diet. And not just because you’d be too scared to eat!

“Our technology demonstrates a digital flavor augmenting solution by applying controlled electrical pulses on the user’s tip of the tongue,” Ranasinghe, who recently took a job as director of the Multisensory Interactive Media Lab at the University of Maine, told Digital Trends. “A pair of chopsticks and a soup bowl is developed to stimulate the user’s tongue while eating and drinking. To achieve electric taste augmentation, the utensils utilize electrical stimulation via a microampere current and two silver electrodes applied to the tip of the tongue during eating interactions.”

smart chopsticks zap your tongue cutleries

Using the chopsticks, it’s possible to simulate the taste of saltiness, sourness, and bitterness in food — just so long as the chopsticks come into direct contact with the tongue during eating. In theory, this could mean lowering people’s salt intake, since the chopsticks can simulate the taste without requiring any actual salt to be consumed.

“We have developed several form factors of this technology to explore how people intuitively touch different areas of utensils while consuming food and beverages,” Ranasinghe continued. “Our latest study focused on modulating flavor experiences while eating mashed potato, unsalted and salted, and miso soup, [both] diluted and salted. Our findings show that significant increases in perceived saltiness and sourness can be achieved when consuming unsalted mashed potato, and significantly higher ratings of sourness can be achieved when consuming diluted miso soup.”

Now that Ranasinghe is no longer at the National University of Singapore, this particular project has seemingly come to an end. However, Ranasinghe is continuing to investigate cutting-edge technologies for augmenting flavors in his new role. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve (or in his kitchen-lab) next!

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Food Research International.

Product Review

The Safe by Hub6 monitors your alarm system to free you from monthly fees

If paying your monthly alarm monitoring fees have got you seeing red, but you don’t want to scrap your perfectly good alarm system, we’ve got good news. The $250 Safe by Hub6 lets your alarm system talk to you directly without monthly…
Computing

Don't pay for that app! These top-notch screen recorders are absolutely free

Our list of the best free screen recorders showcases some of the top apps for capturing video on your computer - without paying for the feature. Whether you're in a business or on your own, take a look at the these options.
Computing

Need to block ads and trackers? Browse our list of the best browsers for privacy

Whether your privacy concerns are focused on controlling cookies or blocking ads and malware, you're sure to find the best browser for your security needs among our picks for the best browsers for privacy.
Social Media

YouTube offers creators more ways to boost their bank accounts

Whether you're a top YouTube creator or just breaking into the game, the video-streaming site has some new features designed to help you please your fans and increase your bank balance.
Emerging Tech

Professional poker players no match for A.I. in six-player Texas Hold ’em

Poker AI Pluribus destroyed professional players in Texas Hold 'em. The bot won an average of $5 per hand with winnings of $1,000 per hour, with strategies that were very different to how humans played the game.
Emerging Tech

Russia launches X-ray observatory capable of locating thousands of black holes

Russia has finally launched its powerful X-ray observatory, Spektr-RG, after a delay caused by faulty batteries on board the spacecraft. The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, July 13, taking off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Emerging Tech

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…
Emerging Tech

See a gargantuan dust storm covering the north pole of Mars

A dust storm around Mars' north pole has been imaged by the Mars Express orbiter. Localized dust storms are common on Mars, but occasionally one expands into a planet-wide event like the one which caused the demise of the Opportunity rover.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope captures the beautiful remnants of a dying star

The VLT has captured a beautiful cosmic object, the planetary nebula named Abell 24. Located in constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog), it is a swirl of dust and gas which is illuminated by the core of a dead star.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers have spotted a moon forming around a proto-Jupiter

Astronomers have spotted a young planet with a disk of gas and dust around it which is similar to the one from which the moons of Jupiter were born. The planet PDS 70 b is in the process of forming and is located 370 light-years away.
Emerging Tech

NASA thinks 3D-printing spacecraft parts in orbit will help Moon to Mars mission

NASA funded the demonstration by a small spacecraft named Archinaut One to manufacture and assemble parts while in space. NASA believes that the technology will change future space exploration, including its Moon to Mars initiative.
Emerging Tech

Flyboard Air soars over Paris during France’s national day celebrations

Franky Zapata, the inventor of the jet-powered Flyboard Air, showed off his machine during France's Bastille Day celebrations on Sunday. The impressive display was even given a nod of approval by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Deals

Save with Prime Day deals on DNA kits from Ancestry, 23andme, and Living DNA

Prime Day is a great time to order a DNA kit. Over the years, kits from various providers have been deeply discounted -- and this year's no exception. Kits from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Living DNA are on sale for as much as half off…
Emerging Tech

Airport hotel builds a full-sized flight simulator into one of its guest rooms

Aviation enthusiasts flying out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport, there's a new hotel room designed just for you. It features a full-sized Boeing 737-800 flight simulator, though you'll have to pay extra to use it.