A Japanese company has created hybrid chopsticks that use magnets to help those with motor skills issues pick up their food.
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In Asian countries like Japan and China, chopsticks are an everyday utensil, and using them is second nature. However, manipulating the sticks can be difficult for older users or for anyone who suffers from arthritis, in addition to those with other conditions that make fine motor coordination difficult or painful. In Japan, there are currently more than 2 million people over the age of 90, meaning there is a growing need to make chopsticks easier to use. Japanese company Yori-So has come up with what they hope is a solution that will allow those with motor skills difficulties to continue using chopsticks. The company has developed magnetic chopsticks.
The new chopsticks are connected at the wider end, just like training chopsticks used by children. However, they also have tiny magnets in their tips, so as users begin to grasp a piece of food, the chopsticks pull together on their own to secure the food between the chopsticks. In effect, they provide the pinching strength for the users. The magnets used are strong enough to hold the food without crushing it or risking a pinched tongue. The chopsticks are made of premium woods like walnut and cherry, and cost around 60 USD per pair.
The magnetic chopsticks will likely help not only the elderly, but also anyone with difficulty in picking up or grasping objects to continue to use chopsticks. They will also be beneficial to anyone who is learning to use chopsticks. Yori-So’s magnetic chopsticks join a host of other innovations aimed at creating elegant design solutions to common problems. In the past, Springwise has covered many such design solutions. These include a spray-on fabric to instantly repair rips and tears and circular furniture, that does away with sharp edges. What other design solutions could help make life easier for the elderly or those with difficulty in fine motor coordination?