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Netlicks? ‘The TV screen you can taste’

A prototype “lickable” TV screen which can mimic food flavours has been developed by a Japanese professor, 

Dubbed Taste-the-TV, ten canisters spray flavour onto a “hygienic film” which is rolled over the screen for the viewer to lick.

Professor Homei Miyashita of Meiji University, suggested it could be used to train cooks or sommeliers remotely,

If made commercially, the TV would cost $875 (£735), he estimated.

“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,” he told Reuters.

He is reportedly in talks with manufacturers about other possible applications of the flavour-spraying technology, such as adding flavours to toast.

The professor envisages a world of downloadable “taste content”.

In the era of Covid-19, this kind of technology could enhance the way people connect with the outside world, Prof Miyashita believes.

But on Twitter people wondered if the middle of a global pandemic was the right time to launch Taste-the-TV. “During this pandemic?” wrote one, “Very likely to make a breakthrough in times of corona :)” another joked.

In the past, Prof Miyashita and his students have produced a range of devices related to taste, including “a fork that makes food taste richer”.

Journalists were shown a demonstration of the device by a student. She told the machine she wanted “sweet chocolate”, and after a few attempts the order was sprayed on to the plastic film for her to taste. “It’s kind of like milk chocolate,” she is reported to have said.

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