Chopsticks that give you an electric shock???

I’m a bit mind-boggled by what promises to be a genuine taste sensation – albeit not the sort of sensation I want anywhere near my mouth!

Scientists have developed a pair of chopsticks, that can make food taste saltier, sour or bitter without the need for extra seasoning.

They are also working on a spoon and fork that could make food taste spicier or sweeter.

. . .

The utensils work by delivering pulses of electricity to the tip of the tongue to stimulate the taste buds.

Dr Nimesha Ranasinghe, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maine who led the work on the electric cutlery, said:

“This technology is aimed at overlaying a virtual taste sensation. Depending on the food or beverage, it will augment the flavor.

“For example, when we eat mashed potato by applying an additional layer of electric salt, the overall flavor is enhanced.”

Some Chinese takeaway food and ready meals were recently found to contain up to 11 times more salt than a bag of crisps – more than half an adults daily allowance. Salt is known to be linked to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke.

But using a pair of electric chopsticks could help cut salt levels without leaving it tasting bland, said Dr Ranasinghe.

The technology, which Dr Ranasinghe initially developed while at the University of Singapore, works by installing two electrodes into each chopstick or the end of a spoon.

These send a weak current through the tip of the tongue when they touch it to stimulate the taste buds.

By controlling the frequency, amplitude and strength of the electric current, the researchers can stimulate either sourness, saltiness and bitterness.

There’s more at the link.

Electric seasonings???  Ye Gods and little fishes . . . what a shocking idea!  However, I suspect it’ll only work in restaurants.  Most of us wouldn’t want to use that at ohm.

(Go on – contribute your own puns in Comments!)



  1. Oh my'..

    The mind boggles at the potential for this line of technology.

    Try to imagine – as an example – a line of women's "toys" that featured electrical impulses to stimulate – ahem – various nerve endings, etc.

    I can anticipate an entire line of product from China any day now.

  2. But here's a thought … kids can literally tune out the taste of broccoli, overcooked liver and onions, and lima beans. Now, that thought resonates well.

    Inductive reasoning, I'm sure.

  3. Ah, Draco, but while one might change or trigger taste buds, the key to much of that is overcoming the stench, er, aroma of the purported foodstuffs.

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