Recent research utilizing AI and 3D imaging of the human tongue reveals the distinct nature of each individual’s tongue surface. This breakthrough offers crucial insights into taste and touch variations, with potential applications in food preferences, healthier alternatives, and early oral cancer diagnosis.
Led by the University of Edinburgh, the study explores the complex architecture of tongue surfaces. The tongue, a sophisticated organ, features papillae responsible for taste and touch. Fungiform papillae host taste buds, while filiform papillae contribute to texture and touch.
AI models, trained on microscopic scans of over two thousand tongues, achieved an 85% accuracy in predicting papillae types and mapping their positions. Papillae were found to be distinctive across individuals, allowing identification with 48% accuracy from a single papilla.
Published in Scientific Reports, the study received funding from UKRI and ERC. Professor Rik Sakar envisions personalized food design, catering to specific nutritional needs. The technique shows promise for early detection in other biological surfaces, according to Sakar and lead author Rayna Andreeva, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh.