The future has now firmly embedded itself into cocktails; a new invention called the “Vocktail” or “virtual cocktail” is a glass that can either change the ingredients of your liquid of choice to make the cocktail even more intense or cause a plain glass of water to taste like a pricey dram of scotch.
Vocktail resembles a typical cocktail glass which instead fits nicely into a 3D-printed mold that contains the electronics necessary for multi-sensory piquancy, according to Forbes. Vocktail works by using layers of sensory stimulation; the first one is the color cast onto the liquid by LED lights, which gives our brains an idea of what to expect from the flavor.
The second layer is tiny pumps of scent located along the rim in what the authors call “smell chambers,” which spray these scent molecules near the nose tricking senses into thinking they are consuming a specific taste.
The third involves a series of electrodes along the rim that send signals to the tongue changing the flavor to match what the drinker thinks they are consuming. Different magnitudes of current are used to simulate the tongue for these flavors: 180 microamps for a sour taste, 40 microamps for a salty taste and then 80 microamps for a bitter taste.
Additionally, this virtual cocktail comes with an app which allows the user to customize their drink by choosing both the color and flavor by altering the stimuli using Bluetooth. The custom drink can then be shared with friends or can be stored in the app for the next occasion.
Developed by researchers at the National University of Singapore, leading scientist Vimehsa Ranasinghe also created TasteXML, a markup language aimed at flavor.
“Taste Over IP (Taste/IP) is a new methodology (framework) for integrating the sensation of taste with the existing digital communication domain. Taste/IP has three core modules: the transmitter, form of communication, and receiver. The transmitter is an AndroidTM mobile application, where the sender formulates a taste message to send. At present, we are conducting research on transferring basic taste sensations known as sour, salty, bitter, and sweet,” writes Ranasinghe.
Along with this framework, the researcher and his team are also working on Taste Over IP, a system for transmitting flavors over the internet, something the public has been hoping for.
“Then, for communication, we present a new extensible markup language (XML) format, the TasteXML (TXML) to specify the format of taste messages. TasteXML is a Remote Procedure Calling protocol that works over the Internet. TasteXML messages are set of encrypted requests and responses. The body of both request and response are in XML format. As the receiver (actuator), we use the Digital Taste Interface, a novel method for stimulating taste sensations on a human. We believe, in the future, this technology may use to implement digital taste sharing platforms and social networking services,” explains the scientist.
No word yet on when this invention will be available for public consumption.