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World-first technology for sharing taste sensations developed
Thu, 28th Dec 2023

In a world-first, NTT DOCOMO, INC., the Miyashita Laboratory of the School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences at Meiji University and H2L Inc. have announced the development of a technology that enables the sharing of taste perceptions between individuals. This cutting-edge solution is enacted through an innovative human-augmentation platform created by DOCOMO.

The groundbreaking technology consists of a taste-sensing unit that collects data based on an individual's appreciation of a certain flavour. This is subsequently shared via a human-augmentation platform which takes into consideration variations in individual taste sensitivity. Additionally, there is a "driving" device, which recreates the taste for other people to enjoy.

Elaborating on the mechanism, an initial taste is first evaluated and quantified. The human-augmentation platform then utilises an exclusive algorithm that predicts how the first individual perceived the taste using approximately 25 data indicators. Thereafter, the flavour is replicated using the driving device, hence facilitating its sharing with others.

The driving device is capable of recreating the five fundamental tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) with the help of 20 varieties of base fluids. For related tastes, a base solution is made use of. The result is an augmented capacity to share flavours that are traditionally complex to communicate verbally with greater clarity.

The technology has impressive potential applications in virtual scenarios within the metaverse space, which was until recently limited to visuals and sound. Other utilisations foreseeably include its incorporation with film and animation. The integration of taste elements will present users with the opportunity to explore content and experiences with an unprecedented depth of immersion.

DOCOMO, Miyashita Laboratory and H2L are committing to the further development of solutions for sharing taste perceptions buoyed by this innovative technology. Their ambition is to foster a new communication culture and spur the provision of new value for an improved quality of life.

The technology is set to make its debut during the "DOCOMO Open House '24" online event, due to start on January 17. Its place in groundbreaking research is indisputable, with Homei Miyashita of Miyashita Laboratory having won the prestigious 2023 Ig Nobel Prize for his research on "electric taste," which modifies taste perception by applying a weak electric current. The system also uses DOCOMO's "FEEL TECH" platform, enabling the sharing of haptic information between individuals by collecting and connecting data on the five senses.

and online version of Docomo Open House '24 will be accessible from January 17 until February 29.

This year's version of the annual event will showcase 31 exhibits, and is viewable at a preview site.

The Open House will provide visitors with opportunities to learn about the positive impact of Docomo's advanced technologies on society as well as its commitment to contributing to society through collaboration with various partners.