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Japanese scientist creates electric chopsticks to enhance food flavor

[Apr 20, 2022: Karandeep Oberoi, Kirin Holdings Company and the Meiji University]

A set of electric chopsticks that enhances the taste of low-sodium (salt) food, potentially helping those who need to reduce sodium in their diets. (CREDIT: Issei Kato / Reuters)

Remember the Japanese scientist from Meiji University who developed a prototype of the ‘lickable TV‘ that lets you taste what’s on the screen? Well, he’s back.

This time around, the scientist, named Homei Miyashita, with beverage company Kirin, has developed a gadget that is way more practical than the lickable TV. His new breakthrough is a set of electric chopsticks that enhances the taste of low-sodium (salt) food, potentially helping those who need to reduce sodium in their diets.


According to Kirin’s report, Japanese adults consume anywhere between 9.3g and 10.9g of salt daily, which is higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendations and can cause severe health implications like hypertension and kidney diseases.

Chopstick-like device that provides weak electrical stimulation. (CREDIT: Kirin Holdings)


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Excess sodium intake is related to increased incidence of high blood pressure, strokes and other ailments. "If we try to avoid taking less salt in a conventional way, we would need to endure the pain of cutting our favorite food from our diet, or endure eating bland food" said Kirin researcher Ai Sato.

An employee of Kirin Holdings demonstrates chopsticks that can enhance food taste using an electrical stimulation waveform that was jointly developed by the company and Meiji University's School of Science and Technology Professor Homei Miyashita, in Tokyo, Japan. (CREDIT: Kirin Holdings)


The main use-case for the chopsticks is to help people maintain a low-sodium diet while not having to compromise on the food’s taste.

Researchers claim the chopsticks can help enhance the perception of how salty food tastes by 1.5 times. (CREDIT: ISSEI KATO/REUTERS)


The chopsticks connect to a wristband-like device that powers the cutlery and uses electrical simulation to transmit weak sodium ions directly into your mouth when you grab a bite, creating a false sense of saltiness. According to the research, the chopsticks are able to enhance the salty taste in low-sodium food by about 1.5 times.

While what has been developed now is just a prototype, Miyashita, along with Kirin, plan to improve the prototype before releasing the chopsticks to the public next year.

For more science news stories check out our New Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.


Note: Materials provided above by Kirin Holdings Company and the Meiji University. Content may be edited for style and length.


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