Eating is something we all do. We need to in order to survive. However, beyond mere sustenance, food and cooking is something all cultures have embraced. Every part of the world has its own distinct ingredients and dishes that exploit different flavours. An essential ingredient for the evolution of these cuisines is the ability humans have to taste. Our sense of taste allows us to distinguish between the different ingredients, combinations of ingredients and preparation styles and, more importantly, to decide what we do and do not enjoy. Everyone has a unique pallet of flavours and foods they enjoy dictated by the sense of taste. Dr Shinichi Etoh is a food technology expert and researcher at the Department of Information Network Engineering at the Kurume Institute of Technology. He explains that experiencing taste requires a sophisticated set of physiological structures and processes. 'These detect subtle differences in the molecules that make up food at the point of contact, the mouth and tongue, which then transmit this information to the brain,' outlines Etoh. The complexity of this system, like all human senses, is difficult to unravel for researchers and even harder to duplicate artificially. The goal of developing a system to visualise human palatability has been elusive but researchers are closing in on viable designs for such a product and with it, they hope to build a system with which unique consumer preferences can be accurately quantified, adding to the modern trend of ever more customisable products designed to appeal to each person individually.