Friday, December 2, 2011

Smart headset gives food a voice

Devouring the heads of gummy worms may make you feel like a wild animal, but now a new headset developed by Masahiko Inami and his team at Keio University in Japan will let you hear the candy scream.
The device is designed to enhance the texture of a meal by synchronising sound effects with chewing. It could improve the sensation of eating mushy food or, according to the researchers, let you role-play as a monster chewing on living things.
An arm attached to the headset contains a light sensor that detects jaw movements during chewing. At the same time, a microphone taped to a person's jawbone picks up chomping sounds inside the mouth. A computer programme then enhances the sound - by adding extra crunch to potato chips, for example, or putting in scary screams. The altered sound is played into headphones while a person eats.
The team has called the system the Chewing Jockey since it can change the mood of a room like a disc jockey spinning tunes at a night club. According to Inami, a tiny version of the device could be installed in dentures to help restore the sensation of food textures.
The system will be presented this year at Siggraph Asia, a conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, from December 13-15 in Hong Kong.
If you enjoyed this video, check out this suit that simulates the feeling of pregnancy.

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