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Virtual Cocktails Could Soon Make Water Taste Like Your Favourite Tipple

The futuristic glass stimulates your senses to alter your perception of what you're drinking.
By Sarah Ward
November 12, 2017
By Sarah Ward
November 12, 2017

All of the taste, none of the after effects: it's a cocktail lover's dream, and it's the reason that we have mocktails. Everyone has been in a situation where they're eager for a tasty beverage, but need to keep a clear, booze-free head — and the next solution to this predicament comes from the virtual realm.

London may boast a bar that sells virtual reality cocktails (real drinks, but with a virtual reality preamble experienced by strapping on a headset), and Vienna might have a VR bar dedicated to having a bev while hanging out in an intangible space, but the Vocktail makes the tipple, not the experience, virtual. A project stemming from the National University of Singapore under researcher Nimesha Ranasinghe's guidance, it involves a special glass that connects to an app to alter your perception of what you're drinking.

Here's how it works: once liquid splashes into the glass, users can customise its colour, smell and taste. The first arrives via LED lights, which sounds straightforward enough. The second comes from bursts of scent that are emitted from the vessel in your hand. And the third? It uses digital taste simulation — or electrical pulses on the tip of the tongue that simulate saltiness, sourness and bitterness. Yep, even though there's no alcohol involved, you'll still be getting a buzz.

Basically, if you're sipping on water but want your senses to think that you're consuming something boozy — or if you have a hankering for a sugary beverage but don't want to put your body through the real thing — the Vocktail has the answer. It was just unveiled at the Association for Computing Machinery Multimedia Conference, so don't expect to put one to your lips just yet; however, add drinking to the list of things (booking holidays, reading the news, travelling, touring landmarks, shopping, going to gigs) that are going virtual.

Via New Scientist.

Published on November 12, 2017 by Sarah Ward
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