Dec 6, 2017 | By Tess

Students from the National University of Singapore have designed a 3D printed virtual cocktail glass that is capable of simulating different beverage flavours without needing sugar or other additives. You heard me right, there is now a glass that will let you taste whatever type of drink you want while you’re actually just drinking water!

The 3D printed drinking vessel, named “Vocktail,” uses various components, such as scent cartridges and silver electrodes, to both simulate certain flavours and stimulate the user’s tongue into sensing sweet, sour, or salty tastes when they take a swig.

To enhance the drink visually, the 3D printed casing for the glass also includes an LED light which is capable of emitting a range of different colors into the glass. The effect is like something that would be fitting in a luxurious sci-fi future.

“You could walk into a bar and order a mojito and using the mobile application, customize it to your preference with, say, a chocolate aroma and a hint of banana or mango,” explains Nimesha Ranasinghe, a fellow researcher who worked on the project. “Or you could customize water to taste like your preferred flavored beverage and save the money.”

The Vocktail glass consists of a few different parts. The main structure, which resembles a martini glass, is encased into a 3D printed base, which also houses an electronic control module and a set of three micro air-pumps which are each connected to an interchangeable scent cartridge. The air pumps release scent molecules through tubes which come out on the drink’s surface, so that they enter into the user’s nose as he or she takes a sip.

Around the rim of the glass, where the drinker puts his or her mouth, there are two silver electrodes which are connected to the control module. Depending on the user’s flavour preferences—which can be adjusted using an accompanying app—the silver electrodes emit certain electrical currents through the tip of the tongue to stimulate its salty, sour, or sweet receptors.

The app I mentioned lets users customize their own drink preferences, flavours, and colors. You want a purple, sweet, lime-flavoured libation? No problem. A yellow, sour apple cocktail? Easy. Users can even save certain drink profiles and share them with their friends through social networks. The Vocktail glass itself is connected to the app via Bluetooth.

The 3D printed Vocktail glass is more than just a novelty device, however, as it could have beneficial and practical applications. For example, elderly or sick people who are on strict dietary regimes could use Vocktail to transform plain water into a flavor-packed beverage without needing to add sugar or other artificial flavors.

Similarly, diabetics could have the pleasurable sensation of drinking sweet things without affecting their sugar levels. As Ranasinghe explained, “Using this technology, salt can be delivered in a virtual manner without the health drawbacks. Likewise for diabetic patients, sugar consumption can be reduced dramatically without loss of sensory pleasure. It could also enhance quality of life for chemotherapy patients who have a reduced sense of taste. There are many applications that can be explored.”

The Singapore-based research team is still developing its innovative 3D printed Vocktail device and says it is exploring how to add elements such as fizziness or texture to the drink for a “more realistic experience.” The researchers have reportedly already met with companies about the potential to mass produce the futuristic drinking device.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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