Have you ever seen a food commercial and thought, “That looks delicious! I wish I could taste that!”
With this new invention from Japan, now you can. Professor Homei Miyashita of Meiji University has created Taste the Television (TTTV), the world’s first purposefully lickable screen.
Craving a chocolate bar? Just search for a video of chocolate, lick the screen, and taste the chocolatey goodness. You’re in more of a pizza mood? No problem. Miyashita’s delectable device can provide that too.
How is this even possible?
The TTTV system has 10 tanks attached to it. The tanks spray different combinations of flavors to imitate the taste of almost any treat on the screen. Those 10 flavors include the five basic tastes: salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami (savory). The other tanks add additional sensations such as astringent, pungent, and aromatic flavors.
Wait, everybody licking the same screen? That sounds gross!
Don’t worry. TTTV sprays its flavors onto a clean film that slides over the screen. You and your friends need not worry about sharing germs while enjoying a delicious ice cream commercial.
But if you want to start licking your screen, you might need to save up. According to Miyashita, this device would cost about 100,000 yen, or $875.
When the coronavirus pandemic began, many people had to stay at home. Miyahsita missed traveling and trying new foods in new places. He wanted to create a safe experience so people could enjoy food from anywhere in the world.
Stuck at home in Kentucky? Just turn on TTTV and taste dumplings from China, meatballs from Italy, or snails from France. (Okay, maybe not snails.) With TTTV, Miyashita hopes people will access “taste content” the same way they access songs and movies.
This isn’t the first flavor-related invention to come from Miyashita’s lab. He and his students also created a fork that makes food taste better. He hopes to use the spray technology of TTTV to help food companies flavor toasted bread and crackers.
The world surely has gone digital. Even school and work often happen online. It’s hard to connect with people and places through a screen. Miyashita hopes his invention will help make that connection a little more real.
But will it? You can lick the taste of roast chicken from the screen. But if you’re hungry, it won’t fill you. And it can’t replace the hustle and bustle of chefs in the kitchen or the joy of friends around a table.
God gave us real food to enjoy, and real people to enjoy it with. So when you’re licking your screen—mmm, vanilla!—maybe take a break and eat an apple with a friend or family member.
Why? Inventions like TTTV and virtual reality can be fun for trying new things, but they can’t replace God’s good creation.