The Food Simulator is a haptic interface that displays biting force. It is designed to fit to the user's mouth, where it delivers the captured force of real food and auditory and chemical sensations associated with eating.
The curved shape of this novel biting-force interface is derived from the structure of the human jaw. It generates forces based on the captured forces of real food, measured with a film-like force sensor. The profile of the biting force of the real food is realized by the Food Simulator's force control.
The Food Simulator is integrated with auditory and chemical sensations of eating. The sound of biting is captured by a bone-vibration microphone and displayed by a bone-vibration speaker. It is synchronized with the biting action. Chemical sensations of taste are displayed using a micro injector installed in the end effecter. The chemical sensation is synthesized from five elements of basic taste: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Smell is displayed by a vaporizer.
There are many application areas for the Food Simulator. For example:
The Food Simulator can be programmed to generate various forces other than those of real food. Elderly people can practice biting with reduced resistance to the teeth. On the other hand, increased resistance enables younger people to understand the biting difficulties experienced by elderly people.
The Food Simulator can change the properties of food during chewing. A cracker can be suddenly changed into a gel, for example, which generates a surprising and humorous experience. This kind of entertainment contributes to chewing capabilities in children.
- Food design
Preferred resistance to the teeth can be analyzed using the Food Simulator. The findings can contribute to designing new foods.
- Optimum mechanical configuration of the device: what shape is most suitable for biting?
- Optimum force feedback method: how can the captured force of real food be effectively used for force feedback in the simulator?
- Integration of multi-sensory displays: how can biting sounds and the chemical sensations of taste be effectively integrated in the simulator?
University of Tsukuba
University of Tsukuba