No one asked for lickable TV, and yet...

The set would be mostly useful outside of your living room.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Never mind smelling what's on screen — would you like to taste what you see? Probably not, but one scientist is pressing forward anyway. ASCII and Reuters report Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita has presented Taste the TV, a set you can lick to get the flavor of whatever's on-screen. The prototype sends electrical signals to 10 flavor canisters to create unique sprays that cover a (thankfully hygenic) film overlay.

The device has been long in development. Miyashita discussed the basic concept of a "taste synthesizer" in spring 2020, and offered an early look at the TV in October this year.

It sounds disgusting, and people would no doubt give you strange looks if you French-kissed your TV in the middle of a show. However, Miyashita doesn't necessarily see this as gimmick to add to everyday consumer screens, like 3D TV. He instead imagined lickable screens as tools for cooks and sommeliers, and even hoped to build a platform where you could download tastes like you might songs or videos. This could help you taste recipes from around the world while staying at home.

The technology might be more practical than you think, too. The professor took about a year to build the prototype himself, and he estimated a shipping version would cost the equivalent of $875 to make. Although you probably wouldn't make one the centerpiece of your living room, it might be affordable enough for the culinary industry and dedicated gourmands.