The device, called Taste the TV (TTTV), uses a carousel of 10 flavor cartridges that vaporize in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The flavor sample then rolls onto hygienic film on a flat screen TV for the viewer to try out.
In the era of COVID-19, this type of technology can improve the way people connect and interact with the outside world, said Homei Miyashita, a professor at Meiji University.
“The goal is to allow people to experience something like eating in a restaurant halfway around the world, even while staying at home,” he said.
Miyashita works with a team of around 30 students who have produced a variety of flavor-related devices, including a fork that makes food taste richer. He said he had built the TTTV prototype himself over the past year and that a commercial version would cost around 100,000 yen ($ 875).
Potential applications include distance learning for sommeliers and cooks, as well as tasting games and quizzes, he said.
Miyashita has also been in talks with companies about using its spray technology for applications such as a device that can apply a pizza or chocolate taste to a slice of toast.
He also hopes to create a platform where likes around the world can be downloaded and enjoyed by users, much like music is now.
A Meiji student demonstrated TTTV to reporters, telling reporters on screen that she wanted to taste sweet chocolate. After a few tries, an automated voice repeated the command and jets of flavor sprayed a sample onto a plastic sheet.
“It’s kind of like milk chocolate,” she said. “It’s as sweet as chocolate sauce.”