Electric Taste Interface

By Nurafiqah Johari, Kasun Karunanayaka, Emma Yann Zhang, Adrian David Cheok

Taste usually come from the reaction between ionized materials and taste receptors on the taste buds. These can create certain flavor that is pleasured to enjoy while eating or drinking.

There are five basic taste, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. We created electric taste machine that can produce weak electric pulses on the taste buds which results taste sensations on the surface of the tongue without the need of any chemicals (Ranasinghe, 2011). Out of the five basic taste, sour taste is reported as the most prevailing sensation through electrical stimulation on the human tongue (H. Nakamura et. al., 2011; Ranasinghe, 2011) ). There is also a theory stated that subject could taste increased saltiness after the release of cathodal current (H. Nakamura et. al., 2013) and taste modification by electrical stimulation can be described with electrophoresis hypothesis (Sakurai et. al., 2016).

Our device sends weak and safe electrical pulses which are controlled using PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) technique from Arduino microcontroller. The output current of the electrical stimulation submodule is connected to two silver electrodes that are connected to the circuit. It will produce square waves of varying frequencies and magnitudes to the silver electrode interface. The magnitude of the current is range between 20µF to 200 µF and the frequency range between 50 Hz to 1kHz. This range of frequency is to provide effectiveness of electrical stimulation on the tongue. However, on border perspective we believe this technology stimulate different type of taste receptors on the tongue at the same time. Therefore, we are currently conducting an experiment that study how this technology could be used to create or modify taste experiences virtually.



Nakamura, H. and Miyashita, H., 2011, March. Augmented gustation using electricity. In Proceedings of the 2nd Augmented Human International Conference (p. 34). ACM.

Ranasinghe, N., Karunanayaka, K., Cheok, A.D., Fernando, O.N.N., Nii, H. and Gopalakrishnakone, P., 2011, November. Digital taste and smell communication. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Body Area Networks (pp. 78-84). ICST (Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering).

Nakamura, H., & Miyashita, H., 2013, April. Enhancing saltiness with cathodal current. In CHI’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3111-3114). ACM.

Sakurai, K., Aoyama, K., Mizukami, M., Maeda, T. and Ando, H., 2016, November. Saltiness and umami suppression by cathodal electrical stimulation. In Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Multi-sensorial Approaches to Human-Food Interaction (p. 2). ACM.