A new spoon uses electricity to add flavour to food

Sending electrical current through your tongue might not be an appetising prospect, but a new spoon uses electricity to zhush up meals all the same. As New Scientists reports, it’s studded with tiny electrodes and is aimed at people who have to cut down on delicious flavour enhancers (salt, sugar, all that good stuff) for health reasons.

Developed by a team from NYU Abu Dhabi led by Nimesha Ranasinghe, the spoon works on the idea that altering the frequency and amount of current can make us taste salt, sour, and bitter flavours, regardless of what we’re actually eating. It lights up in different colours depending on the flavour being transmitted, in order to further enhance the taste. Ranasinghe and his colleagues have also developed a bottle with similar technology around the mouthpiece, so it could seem like you’re sipping a milkshake or a beer instead of plain old water.

They trialled both devices on a group of 30 people, using porridge and water, and found that their success varied widely – from 40% to 83% – depending on the type of taste being recreated, with bitter being the hardest to get right. Another issue was that the electrodes gave off a metallic taste. The researchers will now work on making this less obvious and making both products sophisticated enough to bring to market within the next few years.

In the meantime, the spoon and bottle will both be presented at the ACM Multimedia conference in Florida later this week.

Image via Pixabay.

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