it never actually crossed my mind to try and taste electricity
back when i was interested in hardware, i accidentally licked a powered circuit board and was shocked to find that it tasted like sour raspberries
a bit similar to having a miracle berry for the first time
that experience led me to work on this project, sweetbud
sweetbud is a lid that you can put on a cup to make your drink taste sweet without the sugar. it was a solution i wanted for myself, an increasingly health-conscious coffee addict
building the hardware was straightforward: 3d print a lid, embed a mini arduino inside, stick a silver electrode on the mouthpiece
the biggest challenge was getting the taste just right
for those who haven't electrocuted their tongues before, there's actually more to electricity than just a shock. various factors like waveform, wavelength, electrode metal type, etc need to be fine-tuned to properly mimic sugar's sweetness
taste is also highly dependent on the taster - their diet, weight, etc. for most of sweetbud's life, i was able to taste sweetness with a tinge of bitterness. others had varying experiences
we ended up presenting at sxsw, winning an award in product hunt's global hackathon, & almost sold the tech to philips
there were other people in the space too. google "digital taste simulation" and you'll find their work. we were all building towards the same vision, a reality where straws turn drinks fizzy, spoons add the perfect savory flavor, and formless foods take on pleasant textures
while i'm no longer working on this, the concept of synesthesia is still fascinating to me, and i hope someone continues this research.
if there's anyone out there building in this area, please reach out!
built in collaboration w/ my friend simon in 2017