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Bizarre Tech: taste-enhancing spoon, mud battery and anti-odour shoes

Image credit: V-Tex

The holidays are coming, but no-one’s going on holiday. Here, then, are some gadget gift ideas if you have no idea what to get for people.

Taste-enhancing electric spoon

Shocking

A father-son duo has just upped its game – from working on the ‘spoon in the lid’ packaging innovation in the 1990s, to using galvanic sensory technology for a ‘new spoon experience’. 

I’ll pause for a moment while you unroll your eyes at that unashamed mashing of long words to make a product seem more impressive. Galvanic. Sensory. Technology.

Good Lord.

Anyway, SpoonTEK is a product that aims “to give consumers a taste-altering way to eat foods like yoghurt, ice cream, soup, and many other edibles”. Edibles, eh?

The built-in galvanic sensory technology is said to “mildly” excite (sounds like life; barely fun) taste buds on the tongue like they’ve never been stimulated before. The immediate results are, apparently, enhanced flavour, heightened taste and improved aftertaste.

The science behind SpoonTEK is “advanced” electronics combined with “tongue sensory and the brain”, whatever that means. Don’t ask me, it’s written down like that. According to the online description, the mild electric current excites your taste buds.

Every schoolkid knows: the human tongue can process five flavours at once: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savoury. The team behind SpoonTEK says human perception of taste is largely influenced by other sensory systems, hunger levels and past experiences. Let’s hope those experiences are positive. I would hate something as delicious as chocolate to taste like poop.

To the science!

Apparently, the techno spoon uses two electrodes (one on the handle and one in the spoon bowl), advanced circuitry, complex wiring between all connections, and a proprietary method for hermetically sealing in the electronics. More buzzwords, please!

So then, how does one go about using this spoon? Does one twirl it around in the air like a wand to make the magic happen? Perhaps chant a mantra to ignite the enhanced tasting experience?

Nah, don’t be silly.

You hold SpoonTEK like a normal spoon – with your finger contacting the electrode on the handle. Food touches the electrode in the spoon bowl.

And then you put the entire spoon in your mouth.

I joke.

An LED light on the spoon handle will glow, which means the spoon system is working and mildly electrocuting you. Apparently, you won’t feel it, but your taste buds will. Comforting.

According to the creators of SpoonTEK, it works best on yoghurt, ice cream, soup, healthy foods with less sugar and salt, and just about anything you eat with a spoon. I’m sure you could eat anything with a spoon if you tried hard enough. Small stones for breakfast, anyone?

 

Mud battery

Not a potato clock

I wouldn’t mind having one of these for Christmas. Maybe I will let my nephew borrow it.

Maybe.

According to its creators, the MudWatt is a living battery that kids (or I) nurture and monitor over the course of weeks or months, so it encourages long-term commitment. It comes with the MudWatt Explorer App, which tracks its growth, analyses data, and you can eventually unlock a comic book.

Pretty jazzy. I want to know what on earth the comic is about. The thrilling adventures of electric mud?

The reusable gadget lets your kids design their own experiments, all while learning about electronics, engineering, biology and green energy.

The team says the kit empowers kids (and me) to become scientists and engineers, teaching them important STEM skills while engaging their curiosity, creativity, and appreciation for the natural world.

So how does it work?

Advanced bioenergy technology, people!

Most of the world’s mud has teeny organisms inside. When these organisms (aka colonies of bacteria called shewanella and geobacter) eat, they produce electricity – that’s where the MudWatt’s energy comes from.

Once the MudWatt has been set up for a few days, the LED will start blinking – the blinking rate will increase as your bacteria population grows. How fun! The Explorer app uses an algorithm to determine how much power is produced and how much bacteria you’ve got in your mud.

Better health and activity of the bacterial colony means more electricity output. So lots of experiments can be done to maximise power. My idea would be to get hundreds of MudWatt’s, connecting them all and bringing something back from the dead.

And I will be drunk with power.

If I think about it, the Frankenstein plot would have been a bit lame if the creature was born from electricity-generating mud bugs.

 

Smell-busting shoes

You nasty

You got a case of the foot stinks?

Say no more, my odorous friend. The V-Tex V20 sneakers focus on “delivering high-quality comfort that doesn’t hold back when it comes to a number of tactical features”. Interesting.

I’m just going to call them footwear or trainers. Sneakers just makes me think of a group of sneaky people sneaking about in sneakers. The V20s have triple odour-protection technology that allegedly helps block 99.9 per cent of smells that develop with daily wear.

The shoes have memory foam cushioning, keeping your feet comfy, and they have bamboo insoles just for kicks.

The V-Tex V20 trainers are 100 per cent waterproof but the material is a breathable 3D knit, so you won’t get trench foot, or stinky tootsies. Phew. The inner layer contains silver-coated fibres, too, which keep the area around the foot sterile.

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