Our eyes feast on the wonderful colours and beautiful presentation, our nose smells the rich complexities of the dish and our ears listen to the crunch, the sizzle and the scrape as we manipulate our food towards our mouths. Finally, our tongue tastes the deep, delicious flavourings of our food, and our mouth revels in the different textures that they chef has built into this incredible meal.
A great meal is a multi-sensory experience. But what if we could get that same fulfilling satisfaction from a meal which is perfectly nutritionally balanced, slimming in fact, and completely free from saturated fats, sugar, salt and all the other nasties that are packed into our favourite foods? What if we could trick the senses? One company is doing just that…
Every sense is catered for
The company we’re referring to is called Project Nourished. They’ve thought of everything. The experience includes an aromatic diffuser to simulate the smell of various foods. Then there’s the bone conduction transducer, which mimics the chewing sound that travels along the bone and soft tissue to our eardrums. The eating utensil has built in gyroscopic sensors so the virtual reality headset can track it. There is even a space age virtual cocktail glass with built in sensors that can help create simulated intoxication. This just leaves the eyes, which are tricked by wearing a rather nifty looking VR headset.
The food itself articulates the taste and texture of the imagined food, but with an extremely low-calorie count and none of the nasty side effects often a consequence of eating the things we love, but know is bad for us. Because the experience largely takes place in Virtual Reality, they can get creative about designing dishes. Why stick to foods we already know when you can create unheard of creations and completely new taste sensations.
But what’s the point?
As with a lot of technology as new as this, it’s hard to entirely grasp where it is going to lead. The obvious application with this little bundle is recreation. Eating in a VR environment means you can dine amongst the clouds, or eat at a place inside your favourite novel, while sitting with the characters. On a more practical note you could have lunch with a friend or lover who is on the other side of the world.
It has also been speculated that this type of technology could help with weight loss, allergy and diabetes management, various types of eating therapy, and even be used by astronauts in space to boost morale while lessening the payload. Could this be the solution to world hunger? Who knows; it’s still a work in progress, but offers us some exciting insight into the possibilities for the future.
Will it ever replace real food?
Virtual reality food has a long way to go before it becomes a part of our everyday lives. Companies like Project Nourished will keep pushing the boundaries and experimenting, but the real practical applications for it are yet to be seen. For now, it’s a bit of a novelty, and something we’d like to have a spin on, but certainly won’t be replacing our favourite restaurants just yet.