Electric Fork Adds Taste to Salt-Free Meal
I am a lover of all things Tech. I love to check out the latest gadgets, devices, widgets, etc., so imagine my excitement of finding a technology device that also could impact the low sodium life! I stumbled on a press release for this; “electric fork adds taste to salt-free meal.” It is a prototype of a “handle” that fits over a metal fork, which generates a salty taste by stimulating the tongue with electricity, that was recently announced in Japan.
According to the press release: ” The fork was developed based on the “electric flavoring” technology being researched by Hiromi Nakamura at Rekimoto Lab, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, the University of Tokyo. It is an application of an “electric test for taste” used to judge whether a taste cell of a tongue is dead or alive. And it exploits the fact that a tongue feels salty or sour when electricity is applied to it.”
OK, is it just me? Or is anybody else having flashbacks to that time they either on their own, or at the behest of taunting friends, stuck their tongue against the contacts of a 9 volt battery to see if there was a charge? Seriously? I can’t be the only one!
Their information goes on to explain; “The fork is targeted mainly at those who need low-salt or salt-free diet such as hypertensive patients. This time, the prototype was prepared for “No Salt Restaurant,” a project to offer a salt-free full-course meal.” Alright. Good premise. I a still with you. It could be a good thing.
The product is described as follows: “The handle of the fork incorporates a rechargeable battery and electric circuit. When the user inserts the head of the fork into the mouth with food while pressing a button on the handle, a certain level of electric current is applied to the tongue. The degree of saltiness differs depending on eating habits, age, etc. This time, three current levels were available. The prototype costed ¥2,000 (approx US$17.7) in addition to the cost of a fork.” Also described is being able to control the level of charge with a dial. I assume this means increasing the electrical current to make it taste “more salty”
I’ve had a defibrillator. I’ve tasted the aftereffects in my mouth post the shocks. I can verify that “salty” was NOT a flavor I ascribe to it. “Metallic” and “Coppery” like blood, is more how I would describe it.
The piece that convinced me was a quote from someone who apparently had tried the fork, but wasn’t named in the article; “When I jabbed the tonkatsu with the fork, put it into the mouth and pressed the button, I started to feel salty. Also, the sour taste of the sauce became stronger with the fork. When I increased current level by using a rotary switch on the back of the fork, a metallic taste started to become stronger than the salty taste. On the other hand, it is reportedly difficult to emphasize a sweet taste or juicy flavor.” Gee, ya think?!
Needless to say, I did reach out to the Rekimoto Lab to enquire if I could get my hands on one of these to test out and report on. I will update you as to any response! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!