There are some incredible foods in the world and not enough time or money to try them all. Some of us will never get to eat at the best restaurants because we lack the funds or can’t get halfway around the world. Others have had our favorite foods but can never experience them again as the restaurant has closed down. Food can be a source of disappointment. When you try to eat healthily it can be great for your body but we all know that broccoli is never going to be as delicious as a juicy burger. That is life though and nothing can be done. Until now. A new invention may change the way we think about taste forever.
Homei Miyashita from Meji University has created a stick that can simulate any taste in the world. While you might think that is impossible, taste really only comes down to five sensations and how they interact. Humans have the ability to discern sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami foods. These are our five ranges of taste and depending on how much of each of these tastes a food has, impacts how we experience the taste. Miyashita simply put these five tastes on top of a metal stick and by licking this stick he can make a person experience any taste in the world.
While that sounds ridiculous, consider your eyes. Your eyes are just as complex as the tongue. You would think it is impossible to fool them and yet we do it every day. Looking at pictures and videos we are merely looking at pixelated compilations of varying degrees of red, blue, and green. By taking these three colors it is possible to make the human eye see around 10 million colors in the world. That is based on three inputs. Consider then how many tastes it is possible to experience when there are five taste inputs.
The device is called the Norimaki Synthesizer. It took the name Norimaki in honor of the Norimaki seaweed wrap used on traditional sushi. For one experiment Miyashita wrapped the stick in this seaweed and set the taste function to be high in sour and salt to try to mimic sushi. The device works based on electric charges. When a device touches the tongue the user could taste all five parts. Using electric charges that are small and not noticeable means a user only experiences the tastes selected and to the degree selected.
The device is still an early prototype but the future possibilities are clearly huge. This device may become what the picture means to the eye. At first, the stick will likely be used to mimic existing foods. There is no doubt that companies will spend billions of dollars trying to recreate the greatest tastes in the world. It could be used in fine dining restaurants to prepare a palette for an actual meal. It could be used by those on diets to tastes the most delicious foods and still eat healthily. It could be used by parents to introduce their children to new tastes before they buy them a meal.
From there people may go beyond food that exists today and create combinations of the five tastes that create flavors so delicious they have never previously been experienced. These tastes may come to be seen as a form of art as the creator could choose to take the user on a taste journey with various highs and lows of different tastes over a short period of time. Make no mistake, what Miyashita has created here is an absolute game-changer in the culinary world.