A new company is hoping to completely alter the way people perceive the food they’re eating using virtual reality.
Oculus Rift is seen as one of the next steps in the world virtual reality. A wearable device developed with the games industry in mind, the specially designed headset immerses people into a 3D landscape that reacts mimics the physics of the real world by changing when they move their head. Videos of people testing the device online show just how real the experience can seem.
Although uses for Occulas Rift have mainly been aimed at gaming, we knew it wouldn’t be long until someone applied the technology to the food world.
Project Nourished is a new idea from the Kokiri Lab in Los Angeles - a think tank for researching and designing wearable devices.
The basic idea revolves around diners wearing one of the Oculus Rift headsets while they eat. The headset allows a type of augmented reality to take place, meaning guests can see something like a fish while they’re eating something totally different - say a banana.
In the case of Project Nourished, diners will actually be eating specially designed ‘virtual’ foods made using hydrocolloids from things like algae, seaweed, fruits and vegetables. These will be designed to match the rough shape of certain foods but as you can see from the sushi example, they really don’t try to replicate the real thing. This is because diners, each wearing a virtual reality headset, will actually see the hydrocolloid sushi as if it’s the real thing, they’ll even be able to smell the food thanks to aromatic diffusers providing.
The lab say they want to ‘reexamine modern methods of dietary consumption by allowing partic[ants to experience fine dining without concern for caloric in take or health related issues'.
The idea seems totally out there but we know that smell is one of the biggest factors in how we perceive taste and we’ve all heard the ‘we eat with the eyes’ a number of times. At the moment the Kokiri Lab are testing their idea and holding one off events where they demonstrate Project Nourished - you can sign up for updates on their site.