Call it the Keebler elf meets Bladerunner.
As MSNBC reports, researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan have unveiled what is probably the coolest, wackiest and, hands down, most impractical high-tech diet contraption ever: "Meta Cookie."
Here's how it works: Users put on a ridiculously unwieldy virtual reality helmet that's outfitted with a camera, screen and seven pump-driven tubes filled with scented air. Then they reach for what is, in actuality, a dry and relatively tasteless cookie. But that's not what they see or smell. Instead, the helmet shows them, say, a delicious chocolate cookie, and the air-pump system gives them a whiff of cocoa beans.
Researchers say that the system regularly fools users into believing that they are eating a more delectable cookie than they really are, in part because the camera tracks the cookie as it gets closer to the user's mouth, allowing the system to adjust the sensory input.
It's obvious, though, that this is still in the development phase. Imagine peeking over your cubicle only to find your coworker salivating over an ordinary rice cake and outfitted to look like a creature from Aliens. Not only that, but it's clear the outsized gadget hasn't been through the marketing department yet.
"Enjoy augmented gustation with 'Meta Cookie'!" the promo video proclaims.
We'll give it a (virtual), yum!