Scientists Discover Way to Transmit Taste of Lemonade Over Internet

Back in our day, you didn’t need a high speed network connection to pour yourself a refreshing glass of lemonade!
March 28, 2017, 10:00pm
Photo via Flickr user slackware

Don't call us, Jesus, we'll call you.

Sure, we guess the Nazarene may have transformed water into wine (we get it, you're the son of God), but now scientists can fucking turn water into lemonade—digitally! And they didn't even need to squeeze any lemons or buy some fancy accessory from Apple that will break in a month.

With the use of electrodes and sensors—and zero lemons—a group of researchers at the University of Singapore have announced that they can convince you that you're drinking lemonade, even if it's just water. Plus, they can send you a glass of lemonade virtually over the internet.

In an experiment that involved 13 tasters, the subjects' taste buds were stimulated using electricity from receiving electrodes; LED lights mimicked a lemony color. Some were convinced that the water they were drinking was, in fact, almost as sour as lemonade.

Think of it as a kind of an electric Kool-Aid acid test for the digital age—but the subjects didn't have to jump on a school bus named "Further" or indulge in LSD.

According to researcher Nimesha Ranasinghe, the experiment proved that taste can be shared online: "People are always posting pictures of drinks on social media—what if you could upload the taste as well? That's the ultimate goal,"

Each of the subjects was given a tumbler filled with a liquid that was either cloudy white, green, or yellow. They were told to place their tongues on the rim of the tumbler before sipping. Then they took a taste and rated the beverage on appearance and taste. Some of the liquids were plain water and some were lemonade.

READ MORE: Eating the Uncanny Valley: Inside the Virtual Reality World of Food

Yes, the real lemonade was rated to be more sour than the virtual lemonade. Still, the cloudy white drink was perceived to be sour based on its color alone. The scientists figure that once they learn how to throw smell into the mix, their faux lemonade will convincingly mimic the real stuff—and you'll be able to send it to a friend online.

Ranasinghe said, "We're working on a full virtual cocktail with smell, taste, and color all covered. We want to be able to create any drink."

The researchers presented the work at the Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction in Yokohama, Japan this month.

Why would anyone want to drink a virtual lemonade? Advocates of virtual eating say that virtual foods can replace foods that are bad for you, that you may be allergic to, or that you shouldn't eat because of a medical condition.

Looks as though Gang Starr was right when they sagely informed the world that "Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is."