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Will We Taste, Smell and Touch with Smartphones?

For VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

We can express thoughts and feelings and send sounds and pictures on our smartphones today. We also communicate using programs like Skype and Face Time. We cannot send tastes, smells or touch, of course. But scientists in Britain are trying to develop a way for smartphones to do just that.

Adrian David Cheok is a professor at City University in London. He wants people to experience communication using all of their senses. To give users a sense of taste, researchers designed two electrodes that are placed on the tongue. A chemical process creates different tastes through molecules on the surface of the tongue. This chemical process sends electrical signals that convince the brain that a person is tasting something. They have already created sour, salty, sweet and bitter tastes.

A device called Scentee attaches to a smartphone and can spray tiny clouds of smells, including flowers, fruits and coffee. A person can turn the device on by speaking. It is a ring-like device that provides the sense of touch. It is connected wirelessly to the smartphone.

The device sends a soft, electrical squeeze when a person on the other end of a telephone conversation does the same. Professor Cheok says this permits a kind of wireless touch communication. He says you can squeeze your finger in one place, and the other person gets a squeeze on their finger through the Internet. He says this technology may change the future of long-distance communication.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.

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