Realidad mixta: tu ordenador será capaz de transmitir sensaciones | El País

Por Marién Kadner | 12-06-2016

No falta mucho para que algún chef de prestigio mundial -de los de estrellas Michelin, esferificaciones nitrogenadas y platos a 200 euros- comience a enviar sus creaciones por Internet. No hablamos de un servicio a domicilio (¡qué poco glamour!) sino de un envío literal. Es decir, entrar en una web, seleccionar una receta de nombre imposible, conectarse unos sensores y… disfrutar a través de estímulos en tus sentidos del placer de la alta cocina. Tu cerebro interpretará aquello como la más deliciosa de las comidas, aunque en términos nutricionales sea la nada absoluta. Adrian Cheok cree que, al ritmo al que avanzan las nuevas tecnologías, esto será posible en 15 o 20 años. Tal vez menos si los experimentos que su equipo del Imagineering Institute, laboratorio que él mismo dirige, tienen éxito en próximas fechas. De momento ya han conseguido cosas tan asombrosas dentro de este campo como transmitir olores a través de una aplicación móvil, reproducir el sabor dulce mediante un dispositivo que estimula las papilas gustativas o engañar al cerebro haciéndole creer que la cantidad de comida ingerida es mayor que la consumida realmente.

Cheok es uno de los investigadores más importantes del mundo en el terreno de la denominada “realidad mixta”, un concepto que sobrepasa la realidad aumentada y la realidad virtual, puesto que su objetivo es combinar ambos mundos -el físico y el digital- en tiempo real para que puedan convivir e interactuar. El trabajo de Cheok desde el Imagineering Institute es “construir la Internet del futuro” mediante la convergencia de la tecnología, el arte y la creatividad. La idea de transmitir todo tipo de sensaciones a través de Internet se sustenta, según Cheok, en “el deseo de los seres humanos de comunicarse; la tecnología debe orientarse a satisfacer estas necesidades fundamentales, porque es esencial para nuestra felicidad”. Ser feliz, por ejemplo, sintiendo el abrazo o el beso de la persona amada aunque se encuentre a muchos kilómetros de distancia, es uno de los experimentos que ya han llevado a cabo con éxito desde el equipo de Cheok.

Pero sus planes no se detienen en el envío de información digital entre dos seres humanos, por mucho que esto despierte nuestras emociones. Quiere ir mucho más allá: “El siguiente paso es que esa persona no tiene porqué ser real. Puede ser una creación virtual. Tendremos robots o personajes virtuales que serán nuestros amigos y podremos comunicarnos con ellos a través de nuestros cinco sentidos gracias a Internet. La combinación de la inteligencia artificial y la tecnología multisensorial lo hará posible en el futuro. Tendremos amigos e incluso amantes que no serán físicos”.

Texto: José L. Álvarez Cedena

Robot Sex May Be Coming Sooner Than You Think | HuffPost Live

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Will humans soon enjoy the option of having sex with robots? We discuss the technology behind this progressive idea, along with legal, moral and ethical implications. How will this humanlike-bot alter reality? Will relationships suffer as a result?

Originally aired on October 5, 2015 


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Caitlyn Becker 

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Emma Yann Zhang (London, United Kingdom)
PhD Student, City University London

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Neil McArthur (Winnipeg, Canada)
Associate Director, Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, University of Manitoba

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Kathleen Richardson (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Director, Campaign Against Sex Robots; Senior Research Fellow in Ethics of Robotics, De Montfort University; Anthropologist

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Matt McMullen (San Diego, CA)
Creator, RealDoll

‘This is the world’s first internet kiss’ |BBC Radio 5 Live Interview

Fancy sending a loved one a squeeze or a kiss over the internet? Professor Adrian Cheok is leading the way into the ‘sensation age’.

Researchers at City University in London are currently testing ways of sending sensations like smell and touch over the internet using your phone.

5 live’s Stephen Chittenden receives an exclusive demonstration of how the smellophone will work and even sends ‘the world’s first internet kiss’.

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This clip is originally from 5 live Breakfast on February 9th 2015.

Live at the Al Jazeera Evening News

Our research, Scentee and the Electric Taste machine, was featured in the Al Jazeera Evening News in Arabic. We were invited to the Al Jazeera London office in the Shard to do a live interview. It was my first time doing a live interview and it turned out to be a nerve-wracking but fun experience.

Spoon me: how cutlery design can blow your tastebuds away | The Guardian

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Mango never tasted so mangoey’ … Oliver Wainwright tests his metal. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Zinc for fizz, steel for saltiness, gold for mango sorbet … the right type of spoon can make a meal, finds Oliver Wainwright as he wraps his chops round the future of cutlery design

Seven metal teaspoons are set out on a table in front of me, neatly lined up on a white napkin, as if awaiting the arrival of Uri Geller, or a banquet consisting only of boiled eggs. Thankfully, neither of these scenarios turn out to be the case. I’m at the Science Museum, surrounded by experts in spoon science, here to enlighten me on the future of the most shapely member of the cutlery family, in advance of a forthcoming exhibition on the science of taste.

“My ambition is to make the best spoon in the world,” says Zoe Laughlin, director of the Institute of Making, a research group at University College London, who made my seven-spoon place setting. “The first question is, what would it be made of?” As the gaggle of cutlery experts look on, it feels a little like I’m being inducted into a secret spoon society, or else I’ve wandered into an interview for Private Eye’s satirical column, Me and My Spoon.

It turns out that the seven spoons are all coated with different metals, from copper and chrome to zinc and tin, along with standard-issue stainless steel. “We realised there hasn’t been much research into the taste of different metals,” says Laughlin, “but it really affects how food tastes. If a metal makes something taste sweeter, or richer, then there’s potential to reduce the sugar content in the food itself.”

I reach for a spoon and plunge it into some yoghurt. The resulting mouthful tastes a bit fizzy, as if the yoghurt’s gone off – the trademark tangy tingle of zinc. A second spoon gives a salty metallic kick – the steel – while chrome makes no difference at all. Sadly, there is no magnesium spoon; if you ever put an old school pencil sharpener on your tongue, during an idle moment in maths class, you’ll know that it gives even more of a thrill than popping candy. (Or was that just me?)

In a blind tasting, Laughlin’s guinea pigs found that copper and zinc were the sourest, while the spoon to end all spoons was, of course, made of gold. “Mango sorbet with a gold spoon is just heaven,” she sighs. “Mango never tasted so mangoey.” But too bad if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth: in the blind tasting, it came out near the bottom.

It all has to do with the “reduction potential” of the different metals – the ease with which they oxidise – which affects how many atoms come off in your mouth. The relatively inert gold is best suited to subtle, creamy foods, Laughlin found when she put on a seven-course banquet with a Michelin-starred chef, because it has the least metallic taste. Cod on a zinc spoon, on the other hand, was revolting. Time for Heston to appoint a spoon sommelier, perhaps?

Spoon designer Zoe Laughlin

Spoon designer Zoe Laughlin. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Designer Andreas Fabian, who has a PhD on spoons, has his sights set on even higher levels of gastronomic indulgence. “Nowadays, the tactile experience of food is pretty much limited to what goes on in your mouth,” he says, “but there is so much more to the sensual experience of dining.”

He unravels a black pouch, containing a collection of oddly fetishistic implements, like the toolkit of an aesthete-torturer. There is a pair of golden tongs – half knife, half chopstick – and a silver-plated tuning fork, for pronging chunks of food with a twang, along with several glass wands with rounded, pendulous ends.

“This one is to replicate the pleasure of licking your finger,” he says, inviting me to dip a gold-leafed wand in a jar of warmed Nutella. Then there is a glass bowl covered in rabbit fur, designed to encourage a more tactile experience with your soup.

A third scientist waits patiently, fiddling with a circuit board that sports a rather alarming metal pincer. Before I know it, the tweezers are clamped around my tongue, and I’m being fed taste sensations of the future through an electric current.

“We realised that taste and smell are missing from the different senses we use to communicate,” says Emma Zhang, a researcher at City University’s Mixed Reality Lab. “You might be in France having a nice meal and fine wine, and want to share the taste with someone, but all you can do is send them a picture.”

By varying the magnitude and frequency of the current, as well as the temperature of the conductors, Zhang and her team are working to simulate the five taste sensations of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, the Japanese sense of a savoury taste. Cooling the conductor helps to imitate the effect of mint, while heating it up replicates spicy tastes. But the technology seems to have a way to go: I didn’t get anything more than the feeling of a sour electric shock on the end of my tongue, as if I’d spent too long licking out the depths of a sherbet dip.

Still, Zhang is confident that it could take off with the world of social media, given the obsession with posting pictures of meals on Instagram. So forget Snapchat and selfie-sticks: phone-sucking could be the next frontier.

Cravings: Can Your Food Control You? is at the Science Museum, London SW7, from 12 February. Details:


Smell: 5 Future Technology Innovations from IBM

Taste: 5 Future Technology Innovations from IBM

Touch: 5 Future Technology Innovations from IBM

My Inventions: The autobiography of Nikola Tesla


Nikola Tesla was really a true genius with an unusual mind that could visualize things in great details, a condition he considered troubling at first but later used to his advantage in his inventions. He parents and brother were also highly intelligent people, which might influence him to be so intelligent and creative even as a child. He was an extremely hard worker. As a student he worked from 3am in the morning until 11pm everyday, with no weekends and holidays. His professors even wrote letters to his father that if he didn’t take him away from the institution he would be killed from overwork. Later when he was working for Edison he worked continuously from 10am to 5am the next day without exception. He explained that he didn’t need vacations unlike most people. When his energy was all used up, he only had to sleep for half an hour and wake up with a fresh mind.

Tesla considered his best invention to be the Magnifying Transmitter. It all started with a lightning that followed by a deluge, which led him into thinking that if we could produce electric forces to that magnitude we could control and transform the forces and conditions of the nature on the whole planet. The magnifying transmitter that he built could generate up to 4 million volts (he also claimed that 100 million volts were also practicable). This invention would constitute his vision, the “World-System” of wireless transmission that can transmit information wirelessly to any part of the world. His visions of the world is almost the same as the world we live in now 100 years later from his time, where everyone is connected all over the earth, with closer distance and better understanding between individuals and communities. He believes that great inventions are not determined by the immediate commercial and industrial changes that they will bring about, but the humanitarian benefits that are valuable to the future generations.



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