jar of lemonade with lemons around it

Rob Bertholf/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Are we about to start sharing taste through the internet?

It’s hard not to get a little jealous when friends post tantalizing photos of an amazing meal on social media. Now, a research team in Signapore wants to take those online culinary shares to a new level—they’re searching for a way to send “taste” through the internet, New Scientist reports. The researchers started with lemonade, using a sensor to pick up its color and acidity before pinging that information to a distant cup of water, they announced this month at the Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction in Yokohama, Japan. The specially designed receiving cup uses light-emitting diode lights to change the water’s color and tiny electrical zaps to trick the tongue into finding the water sour. The system has a long way to go—taste is much more complicated than just sourness, and taste test volunteers could still tell the difference between real and virtual lemonade. But the researchers are working to add other capabilities and someday hope to be able to transmit the flavor of any drink. For now, those mouth-watering pictures will have to suffice.

*Update, 29 March, 10:34 a.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the researchers are from Japan. They are from the National University of Singapore.

Latest News