Meiji University (Japan) has developed a technology for simulating arbitrary taste. The device, called the Norimaki synthesizer, interacts directly with human language. By analogy with a touchscreen display, the contact of the tongue and the surface is important here, without which the generation of a sense of taste is impossible.
The idea of a gustatory display evolved from the design of visual displays, in which a complex color image is formed from just three basic colors - red, green and blue. There are five such components in the taste synthesizer - they are responsible for sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami tastes. They are presented in the form of gel rods, the activity of which depends on the electric current supplied to them.
According to Khomei Miyashita, a researcher at Meiji University, the intensity of the effect of the gels on the taste buds of the tongue varies over a very wide range, which allows you to flexibly combine parameters to create arbitrary tastes. For example, you can consistently show how under-salted cooked rice differs from over-salted rice. Or simulate a taste that a person has never experienced before, simply by choosing the correct parameters for each of the rods.
In tests, the synthesizer successfully tricked the tastes of all test subjects. When the gel rods were wrapped in tasteless dried seaweed to add texture to the food, the participants had the complete illusion that they were eating tart pickled vegetables. The authors of the development see this as a chance for those who want to lose weight - they can eat low-calorie bread, but at the same time enjoy the taste of their favorite delicacies.