Scientific Breakthrough: Virtual lemonade sends colour and taste to a glass of water

NEW SCIENTIST --

When life hands you digital lemons, make virtual lemonade.

A system of sensors and electrodes can digitally transmit the basic colour and sourness of a glass of lemonade to a tumbler of water, making it look and taste like a different drink. The idea is to let people share sensory experiences over the internet.

“People are always posting pictures of drinks on social media – what if you could upload the taste as well? That’s the ultimate goal,” says Nimesha Ranasinghe at the National University of Singapore.

Ranasinghe and his team used an RGB colour sensor and a pH sensor to capture the colour and acidity of a freshly poured glass of lemonade. This data was sent to a special tumbler in another location that was filled with water. An electrode around the rim of the tumbler mimicked the sourness of the lemonade by stimulating the drinker’s taste buds with a pulse of electricity. LED lights replicated the colour.

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