We’ve been trying to make smarter silverware for a long time, and for an excellent reason: As we eat more, and exercise less, we’re getting bigger in the middle. And a new electric spoon is hoping to solve that issue by making us taste sweetness when we crunch into a pile of veggies.
The Taste Buddy uses electric current to exploit a loophole in our tastebuds. If you stimulate the right buds, something can taste salty or sweet, even if there’s not a grain of salt or sugar on it. So apply a gentle electric current, and you’ll think something is more seasoned than it actually is.
The theory is that in the future we could create silverware that makes you think grilled tofu is actually meat, or chocolate, or bacon-covered chocolate, although that might be pushing it. Taste isn’t just what you put in your mouth, but what you smell, and there are other sensory qualities to food that might be trickier to replicate, like texture. Of course, this is why we have seasonings and food labs, so that’s not an unconquerable leap.
Still, even if we never get beyond stimulating the basic tastes, there’s still much you can do with that. Those on a low sodium diet missing salt can get their savory fix and sweets lovers can get the flavor they want. It might even help restaurants. After all, why send your food back when you can just tune the flavor to your liking with a dial on your fork?