Japan’s electric chopsticks are not just any fancy gadget. Here’s why: Technology News, Firstpost

Japan is the world’s most tech-savvy country. So it should come as no surprise that they now have electric chopsticks. Now the Japanese don’t have to worry about the salt in their food anymore. That is provided by the chopsticks.

In what researchers say is the first of its kind, they have developed computer-controlled chopsticks that artificially make salt. It’s part of efforts to lower sodium in popular Japanese dishes.

How do electric chopsticks work?

The chopsticks are attached to a mini computer that must be worn on the wrist while eating. They improve taste through electrical stimulation.

The device brings sodium ions from food, through the chopsticks, to the mouth, where they create a sense of saltiness, said Homei Miyashita, a professor at Meiji University in Tokyo who worked with food and beverage manufacturer Kirin to develop the gadget. .

“As a result, the salty taste becomes 1.5 times better,” he added.

Will the chopsticks have takers?

The taste-enhancing chopsticks are relevant to Japan, where the traditional foods are often high in salt due to the use of ingredients such as miso and soy sauce. The average Japanese adult consumes about 10 grams of salt per day, double the amount recommended by the World Health Organization, CNN reports.

Excess sodium intake leads to an increased risk of high blood pressure, the biggest cause of strokes and heart attacks.

“To prevent these diseases, we need to reduce the amount of salt we take,” Kirin researcher Ai Sato told Reuters. “If we try to avoid cutting back on salt in conventional ways, we should endure the pain of cutting our favorite foods out of our diet, or eating bland foods.”

Are they available for use?

Not yet. The Meiji University team has so far made a prototype that they want to refine. The chopsticks will be available to consumers next year, they said.

How secure is the device?

The chopsticks use “very weak electricity — not enough to affect the human body — to modify the function of ions such as sodium chloride and sodium glutamate to alter the perception of taste by making food appear stronger or weaker,” Kirin said in a statement. statement.

Clinical tests in people on a low-sodium diet confirmed that the device improves the salty taste of low-sodium foods by about 1.5 times. Participants given lower-salt miso soup spoke of improved “richness, sweetness and overall taste” of the dish, Miyashita and Kirin reported, Guardian reports.

Are there more such inventions?

The chopsticks aren’t the only food and technology experiment that Miyashita and his lab have explored. They have also developed a lickable TV screen that can mimic different food flavors. It’s a big step toward creating a multi-sensory viewing experience.

The device, called Taste the TV (TTTV), uses a carousel of 10 flavor cans that squirt in combination to create the flavor of a particular food. The taste sample then rolls on hygienic film over a flat-screen TV for viewers to try, Reuters reports.

Miyashita hopes to create a platform where flavors from around the world can be downloaded and enjoyed by users, just as music is today.

With input from agencies

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