News & Events

[Press Release] Received the Science Council of Japan President's Award at the "Japan Open Innovation Prize" event by the Cabinet Office for the development of a technology that enhances the salty taste of low-sodium food approximately 1.5 times via stimulation and for " Electric Salt " that uses this technology

Feb. 20, 2024

Prof. MIYASHITA Homei’s Laboratory in the Department of Frontier Media Science, School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, Meiji University and Kirin Holdings Company, Limited received the Science Council of Japan President's Award at the "Japan Open Innovation Prize" event held on Wednesday, February 14 at the Cabinet Office Auditorium.

The Award Title
The technology that enhances the salty taste of low-sodium food by approximately 1.5 times via stimulation and the " Electric Salt " that uses this technology.

The Reason for the Award
It is a great contribution towards helping people to have a healthy diet. The concept of controlling the function of sodium ions is highly appreciated in society.
It is a unique invention and is expected to be further refined and developed by taking advantage of the high level of recognition in terms of academia-industry collaboration it has involved.

 Awards ceremony
(From left) Prof. MIYASHITA Homei (Meiji University), SATO Ai (Kirin)

Electric Salt Bowl&Spoon
*This bowl and spoon are to be used depending on each individual.
Use only a bowl or a spoon to enhance the salty taste of food.
*The device in the image is an experimental device.

What is the "Japan Open Innovation Prize"?

The "Japan Open Innovation Awards" are presented by the Cabinet Office to recognize initiatives with significant leadership and originality that are expected to serve as role models for the future to further promote open innovation in Japan. There are 13 different awards, including the Prime Minister's Award, and by 2022, 73 initiatives and projects were recognized.

Joint research by Meiji University's Prof. MIYASHITA Homei’s Laboratory and Kirin
Since 2019, in response to the social problem of "too much salt" in people’s diet, we have been conducting research in collaboration with Prof. MIYASHITA Homei’s Laboratory on the use of "electric taste sensation" technology, which uses weak electric current that does not affect the human body to change the way food tastes in pseudo-sensory perception. As a result, together, they developed a unique electric current waveform *1 that enhances the saltiness perceived when eating low-sodium foods approximately 1.5 times.*2

Kirin has developed the Electric Salt Bowl&Spoon device *3 incorporating this technology. The Electric Salt device is scheduled to be released by Kirin and is currently being tested using experimental device.

“Taste Media" developed in Prof. MIYASHITA Homei's Laboratory
Prof. MIYASHITA Homei’s Laboratory regards taste as media and have been exploring the possibilities of the technology for a "new food experience” and have introduced these to a wider public.
“Taste-Time Traveler: A Taste AR Device that Adjusts the Time of Food” *4 and other research is being conducted to realize the free ideas of laboratory students and develop them for social implementation.*5

Prof. MIYASHITA Homei’s Laboratory has since promoted research on taste media technology.
The latest research results on electric taste used in “Electric Salt” were presented at an international conference, UIST ‘23, in October 2023.*6

Presenting at the UIST2023 international conference

*1 Meiji University Press Release on April 11, 2022
*2 Change value of evaluation regarding saltiness intensity in a sample that imitates ordinary food and a sample with 30% less salt. Tested using chopsticks equipped with Electirc Salt technology (current 0.1~0.5 mA). Thirty-one men and women aged 40-65 years who are/were currently or have been reducing salt in the past were asked about the saltiness intensity they perceived when eating the test food, and 29 of the 31 respondents answered that the saltiness had increased.
*3 Meiji University Press Release on September 7, 2022 “Press release on "Electric Salt" device”
*4 [School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences] “Taste-Time Traveler: A Taste AR Device that Adjusts the Time of Food” (December 11, 2023)
*5 [] Tasting is believing! FUJIMORI Shingo experiences something Surprising at the forefront of taste media (September 27, 2023)
*6 Article
Homei Miyashita, Yoshinobu Kaji, and Ai Sato. 2023. Electric Salt: Tableware Design for Enhancing Taste of Low-Salt Foods. In Adjunct Proceedings of the 36th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '23 Adjunct). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 32, 1–3. 

Japanese version