Finally, you can have your cookies and eat them, too. Actually, you could always do that – assuming that you could make or buy the type of cookies you wanted to eat. A weird new invention know as Meta Cookie was just unveiled this week in Los Angeles that simulates the visual and sensory experience of a cookie flavor, regardless of what type of cookie you’re eating. A plain cookie is tagged with a visual marker so that the machine can recognize it, then it projects the image of whatever cookie the user has selected onto the marked cookie so that as you handle that cookie, it looks like the flavor of your choice. When you pick up the cookie to take a bite, an air pump on the machine floods your senses with the smell of that type of cookie, which actually makes you think that you are tasting that flavor of cookie.
The reason that you need to eat a cookie of some kind when using the machine is that the stand-in cookie is what gives you the texture and feel of eating a cookie, even though the look, smell and taste (by way of smell) come from a virtual source. It’s not the coolest look in town, so the practical applications for such a thing are limited, but it is amazing to see how your basic senses can be manipulated like this when we tend to think that food is simply what it is.