One of my key learnings this year has been the extent to which colour and smell influence taste.
I remain sceptical, however, about the latest technology that allows the colour and flavour of a lemonade to be transmitted online and tasted by a recipient; who is only drinking water.
The science is not to be sniffed at, coming from the National University of Singapore and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The explanation is plausible – “Flavour is mainly how we perceive food or beverages in our mind and it consists of multisensory information including visual, taste, smell among others… Our approach is to augment the beverage flavour experience by overlaying extra sensory stimuli.”
The method is straightforward. The sender dips a sensor into a beverage and sends the data to a recipient who drinks from an electronically connected container, which both stimulates the taste buds and uses LED lights to convey the relevant colour signals.
And hey presto. Virtual lemonade.
My doubts are mainly about convenience and practicality as well as delivery but, once the technology develops, I can see it being used as a taste enhancer, such as for the elderly in hospital or to help people reduce fat, salt or sugar in their diet.