ATLAS Professor Ellen Yi-Luen Do's Virtual Cocktail Project was featured on “My Future,” a popular technology show aired on Hunan Satellite TV on Aug. 16, with the first 27 minutes of the 70-minute program devoted to Do’s team. A professor of computer science and director of the ATLAS ACME (A Creativity Machine Environment) Lab, Ellen Do also directs the Keio-NUS CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore where the Virtual Cocktail Project was launched.
During the show, which is viewed by 20 – 40 million, audience members drank from the “Magic Water Glass” (nickname for the “Virtual Cocktail Project”), each experiencing a different taste (sour, bitter, or salty). Do explained how the color of the drink combined with natural food aroma and digital simulation of taste (via two silver electrodes on a 3D printed glass) changes a person’s perceived taste. As part of the show, Do demonstrated how an app is used to remotely control the cup via Bluetooth.
Afterwards, the host invited children from the audience to use the app to mix new flavors for others to try—three blindfolded volunteers tasted new flavors suggested by the audience, including "Hot Pot Flavored Milk," "Tom Yum Flavored Coffee" and "Black Pepper Coke."
Virtual Cocktail is an interactive system capable of conveying taste, smell and visual stimuli to augment flavor sensations. Its novelty lies in the ability to switch between taste modes (salty, bitter, sour) and aromas, allowing users to explore and experimentally create new flavors. Future applications include providing sensation to those who have lost their sense of taste and simulating sweetness for those trying to avoid sugary drinks.
A replay of the program can be viewed (in Chinese) on YouTube.
Virtual Cocktail-related academic papers
Nimesha Ranasinghe, David Tolley, Thi Ngoc Tram Nguyen, Liangkun Yan, BarryChew, Ellen Yi-Luen Do, 2018, Augmented Flavours: Modulation of Flavour Experiences Through Electric Taste Augmentation, in Food Research International, (in Press, available online 31 May 2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.05.030