Last April we reported on the development of a pair of chopsticks that can make food taste saltier without actually adding salt. At that time the developers at Meiji University and Kirin Holdings suggested similar technology could be applied to spoons and bowls, and they clearly wasted no time doing so, because we now have a spoon and a bowl.
This new tableware uses a simple, mild electrical current to enhance the salty flavors of food. This works by passing a specific wavelength of electricity from the surface of the utensil to the food which keys into the ions such as sodium chloride that trigger our sense of saltiness. In doing so these ions all get bunched together when they touch your tongue, for a heightened salty taste without actually adding any more salt.
The problem with the initial chopstick design was that its slender form made it very difficult to hold a power supply, requiring the user to strap one on their wrist. However, spoons and bowls had ample space to fit a battery and also increase the range of applicable foods to be enjoyed such as soups and curry.
▼ The bowls are a typical size for soups which people in Japan often drink straight out of. In this case it appears you should drink from the little metal strips.
Even better, this gear is boasting the ability to make foods taste 1.5 times saltier, a marked improvement over the 30-percent boost the chopstick prototypes provided. There’s not much to dislike here, except for maybe how they look according to some online comments.
“This is good news for people with dietary restrictions.”
“Can I just shock my brain into thinking I’m not hungry?”
“The bowl looks good, but that spoon is pretty big. I hope they can make it smaller.”
“I’m sure someone who licked 9-Volt batteries as a kid came up with this.”
“It looks ugly, but I still want it.”
“I wonder if this technology can be used towards eating in VR.”
“How do you wash it?”
“That’s interesting, I hope they sell it.”
Good news for that last commenter, Kirin says that these utensils are on the verge of commercialization and should be available by next year. The products will be called Erekisoruto (エレキソルト) in Japanese, but Kirin hasn’t yet revealed how that will convert into English whether it’ll be “Elecsalt” or something fancier like “Elexolt.”
Either way, this should come as very welcome news to the many people who need to watch their salt intake for health reasons. Even for those who don’t need to reduce salt and just want to add a little zing to ordinary foods, the applications are endless.
Sources: PR Times, Yomiuri Shimbun Online, My Game News Flash
Images: PR Times
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