Would You Lick a TV Screen?

Would You Lick a TV Screen?
Gif: Reuters

Just in time for cold and flu season, a Japanese professor has reportedly invented the first lickable TV, which will let users taste while they watch for a 4D sensory experience.

Aptly called Taste the TV (TTTV), Reuters reports that the device works by using a carousel of 10 fluid-filled “flavour canisters,” which can deploy their salty, sweet, savoury, bitter, sour, and spicy contents in specific, predetermined combinations in order to mimic the taste of a given food. The end product is then scrolled across a TV’s screen on a roll of “hygienic film” for the viewer’s tasting pleasure.

This may sound weird, but Taste the TV inventor and Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita said that he believes that the age of covid-19 only makes the device’s invention more timely, since it has the potential to connect individuals and deepen their understanding of and connection to the world around them. The TV could be used as socially-distanced learning tools for sommeliers and cooks, he said, to name just one example.

“The goal is to make it possible for people to have the experience of something like eating at a restaurant on the other side of the world, even while staying at home,” Miyashita told Reuters.

In his role at Meiji University, a private research institution in the centre of Tokyo, Miyashita works as a sort of modern-day Willy Wonka, helming a team of about 30 students all set on devising new applications for flavour-related commercial offerings. Miyashita estimates that a commercial version of the TTTV prototype, which he built himself over the last year, would cost about $US875 ($1,208) (or about 100,000 yen) to make at scale.

And if you think you need to bend over and lick a screen to taste the pioneering “spray technology,” think again: According to Reuters, Miyashita is already in talks with several companies about developing other commercial uses for the process, like “a device that can apply a pizza or chocolate taste to a slice of toasted bread.”

Licking a (presumably) communally-used screen may not sound like the most appealing prospect on its face, and that’s because it’s not. In any universe. But from what it sounds like, this technology does get us one step closer to utopia, which is being able to enjoy the flavours from any one of Guy Fieri’s 17 active restaurants from the comfort of our own homes. For that, we must celebrate it.