NISSIN a company better known for making instant noodles in Japan has announced a pre-order campaign for a $130 fork that promises to remove any auditory embarrassment caused by slurping noodles.
According to the company, noodle eaters are split into two factions: those who slurp, and those that are offended by the first group's acoustic assault. Nissin says that this special noise-cancelling 'Otohiko' fork is the answer to a happy co-existence (or at least dining experience) for these two groups.
In short, the fork contains a microphone and Bluetooth technology that connects it to your iPhone - it won't work with Android devices. When the microphone detects a slurping noise, it triggers a masking sound to be played from your phone.
Putting aside for a second the fact that the fork is huge, expensive and not waterproof (meaning it'll be a pain to wash and keep working), it won't even exist at all if it can't muster 5,000 pre-orders. If it does make the 5,000 mark, the first batches will start shipping around three months later.
If this fork is the answer to your biggest problem in life, then the 110-gram weight, lacklustre one-hour battery life and requirement for an iPhone running iOS 10 or higher probably won't put you off.
Perhaps the entirely confused look of other diners, waiters and restaurateurs will convince you it's not the best possible idea instead. After all, is listening to a fake non-slurping sound masking an actual slurping sound really preferable to just using a regular fork? Probably not, no. And definitely not when said fork also needs special care so as not to break with regular washing or use.
The Internet of Things delivers many unexpected products that tend towards 'because we can' rather than 'because we need it'. In those situations, it's OK to just say no and vote with your wallet. µ
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