Written by N.K. Jemisin
Artwork by Jamal Campbell
But real holographic food, with texture and flavor and scent, has yet to be achieved.
That said, there are certainly efforts being made to digitally simulate a culinary experience-
Miyashita compared the device’s ability to augment taste perception to the human perception of images or video monitors. Our eyes may see beautiful images on a screen and even form an emotional response, despite knowing that every image is nothing but a series of continuously pulsating red, blue, and green pixels of varying intensities and combinations.
“Like an optical display that uses lights of three basic colors to produce arbitrary colors,” said Miyashita in his research paper — available on the Meiji University website. “This display can synthesize and distribute arbtirary tastes together with the data acquired by taste sensors.”
He called his device the Norimaki Synthesizer, named after the seaweed norimaki that are generally wrapped around sushi. In one of his experiments Miyashita enhanced the test subject’s experience by winding dried seaweed around the synthesizer while he boosted the sour and salt tastes to more accurately mimic the sensation of eating sushi.
Chef’s Note: I know they are on an alien planet, and, moreover, the food is digital and therefore wholly imaginary in the strictest sense of the term.