National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers have come up with a cocktail glass that tricks a person into thinking that he or she is sipping wine even if it’s just water.
The virtual cocktail glass or “vocktail” is just one of the many novel foods or drink-related inventions out there in the market.
One of the scientists demonstrated the device called “vocktail” on Wednesday.
Lead researcher Nimesha Ranasinghe from the NUS-Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiment (CUTE) Centre, said: “We are interested in virtual reality in general – how can we introduce virtual beverages, and how to augment the existing flavors of beverages.”
How It Works
The cocktail glass is put on a 3D-printed structure holding three scent cartridges and three micro air-pumps.
The air pumps give out “smell molecules” that change a drinker’s perception of the flavor of the liquid or beverage. For example, a fruit scent is emitted for wine, or a lemon scent is released for lemonade.
In a Mashable interview, Ranasinghe said: “We can easily plug-in new smells accordingly-similar to cartridges on an ink-jet printer.
“We are working on not only increasing the number of smells but also a silent release mechanism.”
A light-emitting diode (LED) will flash a color, which the drinker can pick, to simulate the color of the drink he has in mind or a color to enhance the perception of the flavor (red is for bitterness, blue is for saltiness and green is for sourness).
When it comes in contact with a person’s tongue, two electrode strips on the rim of the glass send electric pulses to stimulate his or her taste buds to mimic different tastes – 180 microamps for a sour taste, 40 microamps for salty taste and 80 microamps for bitter taste.
Ranasinghe said all those “can be controlled by a mobile app, which allows drinkers to create virtual flavor sensations by configuring each of the stimuli via Bluetooth.”
Ranasinghe also said the product is not yet available commercially, but they are already in discussions with companies to produce the “vocktail.”
The NUS scientists recently came out with a “virtual lemonade” so the “vocktail” is not their first sci-tech product.
What are your thoughts on the virtual cocktail glass? Do you see it being used in pubs in the future? Share your comments below.