The lickable-TV guy created electric chopsticks to make food taste saltier

It could help people reduce their sodium intake.

Issei Kato / reuters

Researchers in Japan have developed a set of electric chopsticks they claim can enhance the taste of salt. The device is attached to a wristband computer. It uses electrical stimulation to transmit sodium ions from food to the eater's mouth, according to Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita, who developed the chopsticks with food and drink maker Kirin.

Miyashita is also the person behind the lickable TV that was announced a few months ago. The idea behind that not-at-all gross device is that people would be able to taste whatever they see on screen.

The chopsticks seem far more practical, especially if they can help people reduce their salt intake. The researchers say the chopsticks can enhance the perceived saltiness of low-sodium foods by around 1.5 times.

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 April 15, 2022. Picture taken April 15, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Issei Kato / reuters

As Reuters notes, the traditional Japanese diet skews toward salty flavors. A typical Japanese adult consumes around 10 grams of salt per day, twice the level that the World Health Organization recommends. High sodium intake is linked to increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and other conditions.

Artificially enhancing the saltiness of dishes could make it easier for people to opt for low-sodium options without having to skimp on flavor. Miyashita and Kirin have also discussed using the tech in spoons and tea bowls. They're refining the prototype of the chopsticks and aim to start selling the product as soon as 2023.