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Getting to the Bottom of a Digital Lollipop

November 24, 2013 | Telepresence Options

hologram

Story and images by NIck Bilton / NYT

How many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a digital lollipop? That's the question you could soon be asking yourself thanks to a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore who are trying to build a digital lollipop that can simulate taste.

While it might sound complicated, the technology is relatively simple. When the lollipop, which is made of a silver electrode, touches the tip of the tongue it reproduces four well-known tastes: salty, sweet, sour or bitter. Together these flavors can create different simulations close to the real thing.

The research is being led by Nimesha Ranasinghe, a Ph.D. research scholar in the university's department of electrical and computer engineering. He hopes that people will one day be able to lick their television or smartphone to taste virtual things.

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