Researchers at the National University of Singapore have designed a Virtual Cocktail glass which is named as Vocktail. This cocktail glass can trick your taste buds that you would feel into thinking that the water you’re drinking is actually something else. It targets your sense of smell, taste and sight.
The virtual cocktail sits in a 3D-printed structure, which contains three fragrance cartridges and three micro air pumps. These release “small molecules” that will allegedly change the drinker’s belief in the flavour of the beverage. For example, a lemon scent will be pumped out for a lemonade drink.
We can easily plug in new smells accordingly similar to cartridges on an ink-jet printer. Ranasinghe, of the National University of Singapore’s Keio-NUS Cute Centre, stated “they are also working on not only increasing the number of smells but also a silent release mechanism”
How does it play with the taste?
Over the rim of the glass, there are two electrode pieces. When these are exposed to your tongue, they send an electric impulse, which stimulates your taste buds to imitate different preferences. It’s 180 microamps for a sour preference, 80 microamps for a bitter flavour and 40 microamps for a bitter taste.
How does it play with the sight?
There is an LED placed at the bottom of the virtual cocktail that flashes a shade. This feature is fully customizable. The colour can be the one which corresponds to the colour of the drink, so you could pick a dark red for red wine. These two effects combined together creating virtual flavours to amplify the existing flavours of a beverage.
Theoretically, as it is fully customised you can have any drink that you wish to have. The product is not commercially available yet, but the researchers are hoping that this would be available in different industries and pubs. The virtual cocktail could make it easier to choose your drink; imagine when you want to order a drink but you are not sure about the taste at that time this virtual cocktail can make this simpler for you.
The researchers also wish the product could be further customizable in the future, that they could change some features like temperature and fizziness of the drink. Lastly as stated; to be honest, we’re not sure if a combination of lights, electrodes and air pumps will ever be enough to trick yourself into thinking you’re drinking the latest mocktail or a glass of beer, but maybe one day, this could be our future.