Engineers cook up tasty treat to make people healthier
- Scientists and engineers have created a device that could dramatically alter how much salt and sugar we consume by ‘tricking’ our taste buds
- The device has the potential to completely change the taste of food (for example making tofu taste like steak)
- Scientists predict the device - that could help people to lead a healthier lifestyle - will be available in the next 20 years
- Young people can try the device for themselves at the Big Bang UK Scientists & Engineers Fair - the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) Fair for young people in the UK
Scientists and engineers have cooked up a treat that could enable people to lead healthier lifestyles. The device, referred to by its creators as ‘Taste Buddy’, is placed in the mouth, and emits a low-level electrical current that stimulates taste buds, imitating sweet and salty tastes.
The ‘Taste Buddy’ has been created by a team of scientists and engineers, led by Dr Adrian Cheok, Professor of Pervasive Computing at City, University of London and Director of the Imagineering Institute.
In its simplest form, the device can be used to enhance specific tastes, such as making foods sweeter or saltier based on personal preference.
However, Professor Adrian predicts that the ‘Taste Buddy’ could eventually be powerful enough to completely transform the taste of a specific food, allowing people to taste something they enjoy, whilst eating something healthier (for example, making a piece of tofu taste like steak).
The device, which is predicted to be available on the high street within the next 20 years, could eventually be engineered to fit within everyday utensils such as cutlery, cups and cans.
Young people can try out prototypes of the technology first hand at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people. Bookings for The Fair are now open.
Professor Adrian Cheok, engineer and exhibitor at The Big Bang Fair 2017, says:
“What started out as a fun engineering experiment has now led to something much more exciting with the potential to have a positive social impact. The ‘Taste Buddy’ is a great example of skilled science and engineering working hand in hand with a relevant and fun impact. The Taste Buddy could eventually help save lives, by allowing people to switch to healthier food choices.
“Many children hate the taste of vegetables. So I knew that when I became an engineer, I wanted to make a device that could allow children to eat vegetables that taste like chocolate!”
Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, organisers of The Big Bang Fair, says:
“We know we need to challenge ourselves if we are to have a sustainable future and Taste Buddy may be one of the ways in which we do just that.
“Engineers and scientists continually shape and improve the world we live in and at The Big Bang Fair they share their insights with the next generation.
“The Big Bang Fair demonstrates the amazing careers available in science, technology, engineering and maths and young visitors get to try things out for themselves and see how what they learn in the classroom is used in the real world.”
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair takes place from the 15-18 March 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham. For more information, visit www.thebigbangfair.co.uk.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair
- The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK. It takes place from 15-18 March 2017 at The NEC, Birmingham, and will celebrate and raise the profile of young people’s achievement in science and engineering and encourage more young people to take part in science, technology, engineering and maths initiatives and consider careers in these areas, with support from their parents and teachers. www.thebigbangfair.co.uk
- School groups are invited to visit the first three days of The Big Bang Fair and families on the Saturday, in particular parents and carers of 11-14 year olds. Young people will leave enlightened about how science and engineering feature in everything they wear, eat and do. A number of apprentice, graduate and experienced engineers and scientists will be on hand to quiz and young people will have the opportunity to discover how science and maths can lead to a great career. The Big Bang Fair hosts the finals of the prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.