A Different Spin On Food Delivery

Throw away all of your utensils... TastyFloats is a contactless food delivery system that levitates food morsels straight into your mouth.

November 10, 2017

Initiated by researchers at the University of Sussex’s SCHI Lab, TastyFloats is a contactless food delivery system that levitates food morsels straight into your mouth. Forget the knives, forks and chopsticks; just open up and say ahh. 

Here’s how it works: the system uses two-phased arrays of ultrasonic transducers that are opposite each other. Between them is a wave of ultrasound that allows small amounts of liquids and solids to levitate in the nodes of the wave. As the phase changes, the nodes move, transporting the morsels with them between the arrays. Something out of a sci-fi feature film – but once you get past the novelty, there was a valid scientific experiment that underlies. 

The research was designed to explore whether food tastes better when delivered to your mouth as an isolated morsel. SCHI Lab researchers conducted a study on users’ taste perception with different sized droplets of sweet, savory, and bitter taste stimuli. Once the droplets were deposited into participants mouths, they were asked to identify each and rate them in terms of satisfaction, intensity, and pleasantness. 

“Our results are a first step towards the creation of new culinary experiences and innovative gustatory interfaces,” explained one of the creators, in the TastyFloats YouTube video. 

The researchers have offered some next step evolutions for TastyFloats. Imagine being in a theater as morsels are deposited from the back of the chair in front of you, or to desktop gaming environments, where different stimuli can be used as reward or punishment. 

I just have one concern, outside the lab, where it might just be too easy to eat too much in one bite and possible cause a chocking hazard.

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