Yup, you read that title right. You can now send drinks over the internet from one user to another. When I saw a video of this technology on Facebook, I did not believe it. I thought it was an early April Fools day prank or some weird fake news article. So I did what anyone in my situation might do, I ignored it. Then a few hours later it once again appeared on my Facebook feed as more friends had posted it. I decided to look into this apparent technology and see if there was any truth behind it.
I soon found out that it is in fact a new developing technology that is still in its pilot stages. It was created by some researchers at the National University of Singapore. However, it does work to some degree. Currently this has been tested with lemonade and while users can tell a difference, they still enjoy the taste of the fake lemonade. A user puts a sensor into their drink, which records the color of the liquid and the PH levels. The information is then sent to a cup that has sensors and LED lights in it. This cup that is full of technology is also full of water. The LED lights recreate the color that the original drink was. Some of the sensors create an electric stimulation that helps to match the sourness of the drink.
Right now it seems as though lemonade is really the only drink being tested for this specific product. But there is hope that one day alcoholic beverages could also be used in this manner. That means you could get the taste of your favorite drink without the calories or the feeling of being drunk.
I really wonder if this will be a popular trend in the future. As the nervous person that I am, I would be extremely cautious of the sensors and electric stimulation that is occur to what I am about to intake. I’m no science major but I can’t imagine that would be healthy for you. Maybe once or twice it would be okay but excessive use of this electronic cup just seems like it would cause harm. On top of that I do not understand the sending part of this. Are people that close to their friends that they have to constantly be drinking close to the same thing? I could see it more for a way to not consume calories or fatty ingredients and still get a similar taste. I never imagine myself saying “This drink is so good I need to send a fake version to my friend across the country right now”.
I assume that if this cup and technology does become a thing, then an app will go along with it. It could be more interesting to me if you could send people invitations to certain drinks you have had and want their opinion on. Or if it was like a snapchat. Try this flavor for 10 seconds and then it disappears forever. I think that a social component would be needed in order for this creation to survive.
Other similar products have been appearing that also come along with a virtual component. One of these companies is called Project Nourished. If you go on their website, it looks like some out of the future product/ world where robots are in charge. There product is similar to this cup that allows one to send drinks over the internet but its more of a virtual reality. Instead of just impacting one’s taste, this company uses their products to create a new world. To get the full experience, one must be using all six products. The first is an aromatic diffuser which creates a smell of various foods using ultrasonic heat. The user must have the virtual reality headset ,which can place them in whichever setting they want to be in, most likely a fancy restaurant. The user is also wearing a Bone Conduction transducer, which mimics the chewing sounds that is normally transmitted when one eats food. For utensils we have the gyroscopic utensil, which allows movement of the diner to actually happen in the virtual reality as it is happening in real life. The virtual cocktail glass has built in sensors, which actually allows one to feel as though they are intoxicated. Last but definitely not least, we have the 3D printed food. This serves as a way for the diner to get a fake taste, texture and consistency. It is low in calories so one does not have to worry about excess of calorie intake in this virtual meal.
On the website it lists multiple reasons for why one would use this technology. These reasons range from weight loss to alternate reality dining to elder care. One of the reasons is kids eating to create healthy eating choices. Why don’t people just feed their kids healthy foods in a fun way to help create these healthy eating habits? Wouldn’t having your kid constantly in a virtual reality at food time create more unhealthy habits?
The reason that I can most get behind on their website is elder and disability care. While my nana would never know how to use this technology, I feel as though she would enjoy it if she could use it. She is often on a soft food diet so can not enjoy those tasty chewy foods that she used to love. So I think this could be a great way to help those who can no longer eat solid foods still enjoy an experience of it.
Maybe I am naïve and these technologies are the next big thing. I for one will be sticking with my real food and drinks for now!