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  • Dovetailed

Tasting your emotions

The latest research by Lancaster University and Dovetailed Limited, has delved into the relationship between taste and emotional experience. Led by Tom Gayler, the study has looked into how taste can be used as a communication medium by utilising emerging 3D printed food technologies such as the nūfood 3D printer.

The research, which explored several scenarios, such as sports match results, product ratings, providing feedback on the usability of travel websites and responding to everyday situations, confirmed that sweet flavours are associated with positive emotions, and bitter flavours correspond with more negative feelings.

The findings open up a range of new opportunities for taste-based experiences.

Suggestions for new possibilities include:

  • ‘Emotastes’ – droplets of sweet or bitter tastes 3D printed in real time to aid communication. These could be used as an added layer to remote communication i.e. adding taste to a video call

  • Helping people put themselves in more optimistic or more critical moods for solving problems and making decisions

  • New flavour-based interfaces that can help reminiscing in old age, or for people with dementia

  • Supporting migrant communities pass on stories and knowledge through sharing traditional tastes and flavours

  • Helping to more accurately express opinions in greater depth when evaluating a service or experience

The research findings are detailed in the paper ‘Taste Your Emotions: An Exploration of the Relationship between Taste and Emotional Experience for HCI’ at the Designing Interactive Systems conference in 2019.


These ideas were put into practice at an event for Amazon in Cambridge. We used Artificial Intelligence to analyse guests’ twitter feeds to compute a sentiment score which conveyed how happy, sad or indifferent their tweets had been recently. We then used that data to calculate how sweet or sour their 3D printed nūfood cocktail garnish should be. Based on the above findings and psychology of taste, we made the garnish sweeter for guests whose tweets were showing they were swaying towards less positive content or a little more sour for those whose feeds were populated with more positive musings.


We are now working on the 6th iteration of nūfood printer which brings a range of upgrades aimed at creating a robust ready-for-market product. Watch this space for updates and your chance to buy or hire the latest 3D food printer in early 2020.

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