Need A Drink? This Virtual One Tastes Like The Real Thing, Researchers Say

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Would you trade in your real cocktail for a virtual one?

It’s called a ‘Vocktail’ and it smells, tastes and looks like the real thing, researchers told the World Economic Forum.

It’s called a ‘Vocktail’ and it smells, tastes and looks like the real thing, researchers say. (Source: YouTube/
Nimesha Ranasinghe)

It digitally stimulates certain tastes, smells, and colors to create your drink of choice using an app without physically mixing the ingredients – meaning you could put water in the glass and think you’re drinking a mojito.

“You could walk into a bar and order a mojito and using the mobile application, customize it to your preference with, say, a chocolate aroma and a hint of banana or mango. Or you could customize water to taste like your preferred flavored beverage and save the money,” says research fellow Nimesha Ranasinghe, who led the team at the Keio-NUS Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments (CUTE) Center.

How does it work?

For smell, the cocktail glass has three tiny air pumps that are connected to three scent cartridges. While sipping your drink, the pumps release the scents onto the surface of the drink close to your nose.

For taste, two silver electrodes on the rim of the glass pass electrical currents of different magnitudes to simulate a salty, bitter or sour tastes.

For the eyes, LED lights project your color preference onto the glass.

This could go beyond the fun of a cocktail without the health effects.

“Using this technology, salt can be delivered in a virtual manner without the health drawbacks. Likewise, for diabetic patients, sugar consumption can be reduced dramatically without loss of sensory pleasure,” said Ranasinghe.

It’s not ready yet! The team is currently working on some adds including fizziness and texture of the drink. They’re also in talks with companies to mass produce their ‘vocktails.’