Willy Wonka first introduced us to the questionable dream of lickable wallpaper. But that was before we could hold screens in the palm of our hands. Now the dream evolves with a device called “Taste the TV.” Soon, we may all get the opportunity to incorporate yet another one of our senses, taste, into our viewing experiences. Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita wants to introduce flavor into, or rather, onto our screentime with lickable screens.
We guess this feels like a (un?)natural progression. After all, we graduated from surround sound to 4D theaters. Sound and touch have joined the party; why not taste? Other than, of course, that we don’t relish going around licking screens… Even if the screens are officially lickable. But, say we work out the hygenic aspects, here’s how Taste the TV works.
The device contains ten flavor canisters, according to Global News. These ten canisters contain flavors that make up the flavors we taste in food. Some examples include “salty,” “sour,” “sweet,” “bitter,” and “savory.” The device sprays a programmed combination of these flavors onto a hygienic film which is rolled onto a screen. Then viewers can lick the film and “eat” what they see before them. Currently, 20 types of food are available, but the ultimate goal is much greater.
Homei Miyashita shares that he felt influenced to create Taste the TV by his time in quarantine. “When we stay home during COVID-19, we can watch videos taken from places far away,” he shares. “And talk to people who are far away, with your voice, by using telephones and television sets. However, we couldn’t taste food from restaurants which are far away.”
Eventually, Miyashita wants to create a platform of “taste content.” Lickable screens will allow, he thinks, people from all over the world greater accessibility to tastes and foods. It is admittedly an admirable goal, all in all. Miyashita, along with a team of 30, also thinks this taste technology could be applied to change the flavors of food like bread.
Hopefully, though, the next steps are something more akin to Wonka-Vision, where the food digitizes, shrinks, and transports to you. That sounds a bit tastier to us than lickable screens.