Food is rarely associated with extended reality. Food is in and for our physical reality, aka meatspace. There was an article in 2016 by Zaid Mahomedy called “The VR Popcorn Dilemma” where he mentions you can’t eat popcorn while watching a movie in VR, for instance.
But – mixed reality compliments our physical reality. Virtual objects interact with real-world environments. So mixed reality can be a revolutionary tool for the food industry.
(1) Dish Previews
Picture a restaurant in 2040. Before the waiter comes your restaurant menu appears on your smart glasses and virtual versions of your choices appear on the table. Unlike the traditional menu that’s simply a list of food items, you can get a better idea of the look and serving size of the food you’re considering.
Something similar to this:
(2) Restaurant ratings
Smart glasses will likely be the main method of viewing mixed reality. Apps like yelp on these glasses could have ratings appear beside restaurants as you pass by them on the street. Pop-up reviews as well.
(3) Recipes / cooking demos
Imagine opening your fridge and your smart glasses scan and highlight the available items inside. Seconds later a list of possible recipes pop up from the ingredients available in the fridge.
Not only that, but then once you tap the dish you want, you get instructions – in the form of holographic demonstration. Picture a holographic Gordon Ramsay in your kitchen showing you the steps for how to cook the stuff in your fridge. Recipe and cooking class side-by-side.
(4) Dietary customization searches
Mixed reality will offer a much quicker shopping and dining experience by highlighting foods in your field of view that work with your specific dietary restrictions. If you’re vegan and at the grocery store, mixed reality will highlight the items on the shelf that you’ve either bought before or recommendations based on what you like. Items that aren’t vegan could be highlighted in red.
At restaurants the choices that appear digitally could be filtered to your diet. This takes a load off the waiter answering to dietary concerns.
(5) Expiration notifications
Expiration labels are printed on food products. But there is no adjusted expiration label for when the product’s container is open. The label might say “eat within 7 days” or “refrigerate after opening”. So a mixed reality application could put digital expiration labels on your homemade leftover dishes, or an adjusted expiration label once items are opened.
Finally – a Japanese professor developed a prototype lickable TV screen that imitates food flavors. Extended reality isn’t just about sight.