Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 75, Issue 20, pp 12291–12309 | Cite as

Virtual ingredients for food and beverages to create immersive taste experiences

The sensation of taste as an electronic media
  • Nimesha RanasingheEmail author
  • Kuan-Yi Lee
  • Gajan Suthokumar
  • Ellen Yi-Luen Do


This paper presents a new technology that overlays virtual taste sensations on food and beverages while eating and drinking. This additional layer of taste sensation enables modifying the existing taste sensations (flavors) of food and beverages virtually. To achieve this technology, we primarily use weak and controlled electrical pulses on the tip of the tongue (while eating and drinking). The ability of this technology to simulate primary taste sensations such as salty, sour, and bitter has made us able to merge it into everyday eating and drinking utensils such as the spoon and beverage bottle, thus to augment the taste sensations of food and beverages. In addition to electrical pulses, we change the color of the beverage using an RGB Light Emitting Diode (LED). Two prototype systems produced with this technology, Spoon+ and Bottle+ are explained in this paper. First, we present a comprehensive technical description of these utensils. Then, we detailed a user experiment conducted to study the effectiveness of our approach. Through these two prototype systems, we discuss the impact of this technology to create immersive taste experiences when consuming food and beverages. With focus on new features and improvements of several limitations of the existing systems, we present our future vision that enables merging of this technology into more appliances thus making a platform for creating virtual food and beverage ingredients.


Taste Gustation Taste media Multimodal interaction Perceptual immersion Taste interfaces 



This research is supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its International Research Centre @ Singapore Funding Initiative and administered by the Interactive and Digital Media Programme Office.


  1. 1.
    Auvray M, Spence C (2008) The multisensory perception of flavor. Conscious Cogn 17(3):1016– 1031CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beyreuther K, Biesalski H, Fernstrom J, Grimm P, Hammes W, Heinemann U, Kempski O, Stehle P, Steinhart H, Walker R (2007) Consensus meeting: monosodium glutamate–an update. Eur J Clin Nutr 61(3):304–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boyce J, Shone G (2006) Effects of ageing on smell and taste. Postgrad Med J 82(966):239–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Buck LB (2000) Smell and taste: The chemical senses. Princ Neural Sci 4:625–647Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cowart BJ (1981) Development of taste perception in humans: sensitivity and preference throughout the life span. Psychol Bull 90(1):43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cruz A, Green B (2000) Thermal stimulation of taste. Nature 403(6772):889–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    DePuy V, Berger VW (2005) Counterbalancing. Wiley, pp 418–420Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dobrin R Liquid cleaner-disinfectant composition for use in wiping down dental operatories (1984). US Patent 4,464,293Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Drewnowski A, Henderson SA, Barratt-Fornell A (2001) Genetic taste markers and food preferences. Drug Metab Dispos 29(4):535–538Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eisenstein M (2010) Taste: More than meets the mouth. Nature 468(7327):S18–S19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Firestein S (2001) How the olfactory system makes sense of scents. Nature 413 (6852):211–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Frank R, Ducheny K, Mize S (1989) Strawberry odor, but not red color, enhances the sweetness of sucrose solutions. Chem Senses 14(3):371–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Grabenhorst F, Rolls E (2008) Selective attention to affective value alters how the brain processes taste stimuli. Eur J Neurosci 27(3):723–729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Harrar V, Spence C (2013) The taste of cutlery: how the taste of food is affected by the weight, size, shape, and colour of the cutlery used to eat it. Flavour 2(1):1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Krut L, Perrin M, Bronte-Stewart B (1961) Taste perception in smokers and non-smokers. Br Med J 1(5223):384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kundu P, Chatterjee A, Panchariya P (2011) Electronic tongue system for water sample authentication: A slantlet-transform-based approach. IEEE Trans Instrum Meas 60(6):1959–1966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lackovic I, Stare Z (2007) Low-frequency dielectric properties of the oral mucosa. In: 13th international conference on electrical bioimpedance and the 8th conference on electrical impedance tomography. Springer, pp 154–157Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lansdown A (2006) Silver in health care: antimicrobial effects and safety in use. Karger Publishers, pp 17–34Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lawless H, Stevens D, Chapman K, Kurtz A (2005) Metallic taste from electrical and chemical stimulation. Chem Senses 30(3):185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lindemann B (2001) Receptors and transduction in taste. Nature (London):219–225Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Matsunami H, Montmayeur JP, Buck LB (2000) A family of candidate taste receptors in human and mouse. Nature 404(6778):601–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Meiselman HL, Dzendolet E (1967) Variability in gustatory quality identification. Percept Psychophys 2(11):496–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nagata M, Suzuki W, Iizuka S, Tabuchi M, Maruyama H, Takeda S, Aburada M, Miyamoto KI (2006) Type 2 diabetes mellitus in obese mouse model induced by monosodium glutamate. Exp Anim 55(2):109–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Nakamura H, Miyashita H (2011) Augmented gustation using electricity. In: Proceedings of the 2nd augmented human international conference. ACM, p 34Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Narumi T, Sato M, Tanikawa T, Hirose M (2010) Evaluating cross-sensory perception of superimposing virtual color onto real drink: toward realization of pseudo-gustatory displays. In: Proceedings of the 1st augmented human international conference. ACM, p 18Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Palit M, Tudu B, Dutta P, Dutta A, Jana A, Roy J, Bhattacharyya N, Bandyopadhyay R, Chatterjee A (2010) Classification of black tea taste and correlation with tea taster’s mark using voltammetric electronic tongue. IEEE Trans Instrum Meas 59(8):2230–2239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ranasinghe N, Cheok A, Nakatsu R, Do EYL (2013) Simulating the sensation of taste for immersive experiences. In: Proceedings of the 2013 ACM international workshop on immersive media experiences. ACM, pp 29–34Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ranasinghe N, Cheok AD, Nakatsu R (2012) Taste/ip: the sensation of taste for digital communication. In: Proceedings of the 14th ACM international conference on multimodal interaction. ACM, pp 409–416Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ranasinghe N, Karunanayaka K, Cheok AD, Fernando ONN, Nii H, Gopalakrishnakone P (2011) Digital taste and smell communication. In: Proceedings of the 6th international conference on body area networks. ICST (Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering), pp 78–84Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ranasinghe N, Lee KY, Do EYL (2014) Funrasa: an interactive drinking platform. In: Proceedings of the 8th international conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction. ACM, pp 133–136Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ranasinghe N, Lee KY, Suthokumar G, Do EYL (2014) The sensation of taste in the future of immersive media. In: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM international workshop on immersive media experiences. ACM, pp 7–12Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ranasinghe N, Nakatsu R, Nii H, Gopalakrishnakone P (2012) Tongue mounted interface for digitally actuating the sense of taste. In: 16th international symposium on wearable computers (ISWC), 2012. IEEE, pp 80–87Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ratner B, Bankman I (2009) Biomedical engineering desk reference, chap 4.1. Academic Press, p 377Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Robinson J (1970) The misuse of taste names by untrained observers. Br J Psychol 61(3):375–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Shepherd G (2006) Smell images and the flavour system in the human brain. Nature 444(7117):316–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Silverthorn DU, Ober WC, Garrison CW, Silverthorn AC, Johnson BR (2009) Human physiology: an integrated approach, chap 10. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, p 354Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Small D, Prescott J (2005) Odor/taste integration and the perception of flavor. Exp Brain Res 166(3):345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Sørensen LB, Møller P, Flint A, Martens M, Raben A (2003) Effect of sensory perception of foods on appetite and food intake: a review of studies on humans. Int J Obes 27(10):1152–1166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Spielman A (1990) Interaction of saliva and taste. J Dent Res 69(3):838–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tortora GJ, Derrickson BH (2008) Principles of anatomy and physiology. WileyGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Vega C, Ubbink J (2008) Molecular gastronomy: a food fad or science supporting innovative cuisine? Trends Food Sci Technol 19(7):372–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keio-NUS CUTE CenterNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations