We’ve asked augmented reality to help us drive, overcome our phobias, and put names to faces. Now we want cookies. Researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan have devised a headset that can replace the appearance and smell of a plain cookie with tastier varieties including chocolate, almond, orange, maple, lemon, and cheese.
The group, led by Takuji Narumi, presented its research at the SIGGRAPH conference on computer graphics at the end of last month. “Augmented gustation” is a challenge, the team says, because taste relies on so many of our other senses. We see the embedded chocolate chips. We smell the straight-out-of-the-oven scent.
The “meta cookie” project attempts to use our multiple cookie senses to create a virtual cookie variety pack. Users choose their preferred cookie, and a camera on the headset overlays an image on a plain sugar cookie and sprays the correct associated scent, be it maple or cheese. The closer the cookie gets to the user’s mouth, the more of the scent the headset cranks out. Though the test subject in the video above appears satisfied, TechNewsDaily reports that the trick did not fool everyone. One cookie remained “mostly neutral” tasting though the headset tried to conjure maple and chocolate flavors.
Perhaps researchers will next attempt to copy the cookie’s feel? Texture seems to matter: ask anyone who’s entered the crunchy versus chewy fray.
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