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Japanese scientists are developing an electric chewing gum that never loses flavor

Just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had already predicted it, Japanese scientists have developed a gum that never loses flavor!

The researchers at Meiji University in Japan, have come up with a device which zaps your tongue with electricity sounds, called the “unlimited electric gum”. The idea behind this device is that when a person chews on a stick, which is essentially the gum, sensations are electrically stimulated and the person can taste a flavor. There is now not just a gum that does not lose flavor but a futuristic opportunity to create a piece of gum which can create a desired flavor at any instant.

The gum works on the basis of the piezoelectric effect, derived from the Greek word ‘piezein’, which means to squeeze or press, and is a phenomenon by which certain materials can generate electric charge when mechanical stress is applied to them.  The piece of gum is basically a piezoelectric element and electrodes that are wrapped in a thin plastic film.  When this piece of gum is chewed, a small current is generated using the piezoelectric effect which tricks the user into thinking they are experiencing different flavors!

It is quite naturally expected that the flavors aren’t all strawberry and peppermint just yet. In fact, when the device was tested, the final reports claimed that the gum tasted salty or bitter. It was said that the flavor was somewhat similar to the flavor attained when chewing niboshi, which are dried infant sardines usually taken up as a snack or for seasoning in soup stocks.

The researchers have kept their work ongoing in hopes that they can be able to induce normal gum flavors like sweet sour and even umami (a savory taste that is one of the five basic tastes and is a characteristic of broths and cooked meats). Recently, the chewing gum was presented at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Germany.

Apart from Meiji University, other universities are trying their luck on creating innovations that will bring a change in the food industry. Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe, currently director of the Multisensory Interactive Media Lab at the University of Maine has also worked on many similar projects such as a programmable cocktail glass and futuristic chopsticks. Although this latest device/gum is still a work in progress, it is bound to tingle your taste buds!

Header Image Credits: Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo

h/t: Digital Trends

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