Taste perception experiments

Workshop Resource [ Re-mapping the senses ]

Taste perception experiments.

Our sense of taste is directly affected by the colour and smell of the food. Experiments prove that the colour of a drink affects our perception of its sweetness for example. Altering the sound of the food, say adjusting the high-end frequencies while eating crisps can also affect our perception of the crunchiness of those crisps. Playing with these assumptions and expectations can create heightened food experiences. There have been a number of studies that suggest it is possible to simulate Sweetness, bitterness, sourness.

Specifically, we test these setting as claimed by the Vocktail project [see below] to simulate the following sensations…

Sour: magnitude of current: 180 mA, PWM duty cycle: 67%
Salty: magnitude of current: 40 mA, PWM duty cycle: 20%
Bitter: magnitude of current: 80 mA, PWM duty cycle: 43%

For the workshop, we developed an Arduino sketch [Thank Chris Ball ] and simple circuit to output variable PWM duty cycle with which to perform our own experiments. Here is a basic schematic…


Chris Ball
schematic sketch thanks to Chris Ball



More links and resources…

“In1754 Sulzer had described the way in which taste was induced by two different, interconnected metals touched by the tongue (lead-silver). As each of these metals by itself is tasteless, Sulzer assumed that when in contact, in one of them or in both, “there occurred a vibration of the most minute particles, affecting the tongue nerves…The same phenomenon was rediscovered by Volta (1792) who ascribed it to electric fluid flowing through the tissue from one metal to another and affecting on its way taste nerves. ” https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-65245-5_10

more on Metallic Taste from Electrical and Chemical Stimulation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1307523/

Vocktail: A Virtual Cocktail for Pairing Digital Taste, Smell, and Color Sensations “Vocktail (a.k.a. Virtual Cocktail) – an interactive drinking utensil that digitally simulates multisensory flavour experiences. The Vocktail system utilizes three common sensory modalities, taste, smell, and visual (colour), to create virtual flavours and augment the existing flavours of a beverage.”  https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3123266.3123440

Designer Chang Hee Lee’s synaesthesia projectThree Studies of Synaesthesia

Three Studies of Synaesthesia “Three Studies of Synaesthesia is a project that tries to uncover and investigate different properties of synaesthesia. “Three props” are designed and planned during the research in order to study and experiment some of the provocative elements of synaesthesia. Prop 2 is an attempt to question the difference between our mental images and the real images of taste. How does electricity taste in your mind? What does it really taste like? This prop allows people to taste electricity. Prop 2 aims to study and investigate the difference between the real and the surreal.”

More Links…

Crossmodal Research Laboratory “We study the integration of information across the various different sensory modalities (hearing, vision, touch, taste, and smell) using a variety of paradigms and techniques. This exciting area of research is changing the way we view our senses, and contributing important new insights to the understanding of the brain. These insights can have major implications in the real world.”

Electric Spoon “Scientists at New York University Abu Dhabi have created a rather bizarre new gadget: a spoon that uses tiny electric currents to recreate certain tastes on your tongue. This may sound gimmicky, but there is method behind the madness. The team hopes that, with further development, it could ultimately be used as a flavor enhancer for people that can’t eat much of certain foods, such as sugar and salt.”

“Virtual ingredients for food and beverages to create immersive taste experiences The sensation of taste as an electronic media”

Virtual Lemonade: Let’s Teleport Your Lemonade!

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