Ever see a friend post a photo of a drink online and wonder whether it’s really as delicious as it looks? You might not have to pay a visit to find out: researchers have found a way to send the basic look and taste of lemonade through the internet. The team first used color and acidity sensors to get the characteristics of the drink, and then sent it to a connected tumbler full of water where LEDs replicated the color, and electrodes reproduced the sourness by stimulating drinkers’ tastebuds.
The result clearly isn’t the same as cloning the lemonade outright. Testers noted that this digital reproduction wasn’t as sour as the real thing. We’d add that lemonade is an ideal subject for a test like this, since it’s very simple and relatively easy to imitate.
However, that it’s close to the real thing is noteworthy by itself. If nothing else, the technology would give you a hint of what to expect from the real beverage. And the researchers have more ambitious plans. They’re developing a “cocktail” that would mimic the smell of a drink, and the ultimate goal is to share any drink. No, your laptop isn’t about to pour out a cold one any time soon, but you might soon know what you’re missing without having to leave home.