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Dr. Homei Miyashita, Professor at the Department of Frontier Media Science, School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, Meiji University has developed a taste display that can express an arbitrary taste. In this study, a set of five gels, each of which contains an electrolyte that causes the tongue to sense the five basic tastes (sweet, acidic, salty, bitter, and umami) is applied to the tongue. The application of different voltages to these gels make ions within them move and thus the amounts of different ions that touch the tongue can be controlled. That makes it possible to freely adjust the proportions of the five basic tastes sensed by the tongue (patent pending). This technology only allows for the communication of taste information without the need for the movement of people or food and drink. Therefore various applications are expected in the future, including sharing of tastes without the risk of infection.

The Miyashita Laboratory has been working on electric taste, a taste sensation generated by electric stimulation to the tongue. The laboratory’s inventions using this technology include a chewing gum that creates a taste with power generated by the chewing movement [1] and a method that enhances and prolongs the aftertaste of a drink.[2] Taking advantage of this technology, Dr. Miyashita’s lab is also conducting a project aimed at enhancing the taste of healthy food without chemical augmentation.[3] This taste display, however, does not involve tongue electrostimulation. The aim is not the alteration of the taste of a meal but the remote transmission and reproduction of tastes.

The paper on Norimaki Synthesizer, a prototype of this experimental taste display is now available at the following URL. Prof. Miyashita is working on ways to make taste more reproducible and representable than shown in this paper.”

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