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Katherine Templar Lewis: Flavours of the future

To make alternative futures you need to invite alternative perspectives. Outsiders, outliers and opportunists are the gatekeepers to new visions. Together with UCL, DH READY’s ambition is to explore the “edges” of what’s next in culture, technology and science to accelerate new opportunities.

This year at FutureFest, our content partners will be programming a series of events and experiences centred around the future of food. Here’s a taster of their thinking behind how far we have come and where we could be heading, as well as an overview of who will be joining DH Ready in sharing their radical visions at this year’s FutureFest.

From fire to flavour

Since the beginning of time, technology and food have been bedfellows. From the invention of fire, a turning point in the cultural aspect of human evolution, to the invention of the plough, arguably the point at which the end of our nomadic lifestyle kick-started the modern economy, we have always used technology to explore and extend what we eat, how we eat and why we eat. Technology is all around us it’s not just the aging microwave being outshone by the nutri-bullet or our connected fridge. It is the knife and fork, the table we sit at, the heart of the home. And at the core of it all, the mission to enhance flavour.

Flavour feeding behaviour

Food 2030: flavour hack

Flavour is a mix of sensory inputs that enhances our taste, smell, texture, temperature and individual memory. It is a major component in our wellbeing both physical, emotional and social. Again, you have only to look at the spice trade or the clippers designed to bring tea faster to the tables of the British court to know that the quest for flavour has often been the driver of technology. More recently, molecular biology has identified not just the range of flavours, but our individual responses to them. FMRI Imaging means that manipulating flavour at a neurological level is a new art form.

Today, technology is increasing our ability to create multisensory landscapes with a creative flair never seen before, from synthetic flavour to VR shared dining experiences. Scientists, chefs and technologists are coming together to explore how we can share flavours, how we can use it to enhance our memory and play with our emotions. Using electrodes today you can even taste flavour in the absence of anything actually on the tongue. But we have only just begun to understand and explore the dimensions of taste for multisensory experience design. Human-computer interaction is changing the rules for flavour.

Food 2030: flavour hack

To create an alternative future we need start by asking different questions. We invited three different visionaries specialising in interactive experience, experimental design and human-computer interfaces to share their alternative perspectives on how we may experience food in the future.

Can people taste in their dream? If so can we add flavour to them?

Robin McNicholls, co-founder of Marshmallow Laser Feast will discuss how to how he is creating intimate sensation in hyper-real mixed reality.

Can you imagine a 3D printed food future? What is the future shape of food?

Dr. Vaiva Kalnikaitė has taken her research from UCL Interaction Centre into the real world and flying the flag for futuristic 3D printed flavor.

How will we redesign the food interface? How will we experience food in the future?

Dr. Marianna Obrist from the Sussex Human Computer Interface Department is the powerhouse behind the new manifesto on the future of computing and food.

Flavour Hack will be one of a series of Food 2030 sessions DH READY and UCL are hosting at FutureFest this year. Read more and get your tickets.

DH READY is a cross-discipline creative consultancy making brands Tomorrow Ready, Today. For more information please contact Duane Holland, Founder and Creative Strategist on [email protected] or Katherine Lewis, Futurist and Creative Scientist on [email protected]

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Katherine Templar Lewis

Creative Scientist, Futurist and Journalist at DH READY