Singapore researchers turn water into 'lemonade'

A research team in Singapore uses sensors and electrodes to make water look and taste like lemonade.

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - It looks like lemonade and apparently it tastes like it too.

But these glasses are actually filled with water.

A research team in Singapore say they've devised a way to make water taste like lemonade.

They start off by dipping a sensor into a glass of real lemonade.

The PH value is then remotely transmitted to electrode strips running along the top of a glass of water - which emulates the taste.

The scientists working on the project say the flavour can then be transmitted through the internet to a friend.

"So we often have these experiences, like, we try to drink some beverages in a bar, and we often recall a friend's name, or my wife's name, or my dad's name, thinking, 'oh if I can send this beverage to my loved one that will be great, right, they will love it too," said Dr Nimesha Ranasinghe, lead researcher at Keio-NUS CUTE Center.

The team also claim there are health benefits to their prototype.

"Later, we realised we can even help the people who want to cut down their calorie intake. If he's craving for a lemonade, if he can have a virtual lemonade, he can get the same experience, but zero calories," said Dr Ranasinghe.

Two students from the university were given a taste test in front of a reporter.

They said they liked the idea, but one student did suggest minor improvements.

"I think it's definitely the way the tongue touches the cup, because no-one would sub-consciously or consciously put their tongue onto the electrode, and then drink the water, so it has to be something that is very natural, and how you'd drink straight from the cup, that's definitely one area." said student Genevieve Low.

The digital lemonade is the team's first prototype for this experiment and they are confident that people will be drinking and sharing 'virtual lemonade' in the future.