Food Companies Are Inventing Ways To Keep Your Disgusting Greasy Fingers Off Your Nice Clean Phone
A Japanese snack company has come up with a solution for greasy, snack-time phone screens with pre-smashed chips that you can knock back without touching anything except the bag, The Guardian reports. “One Hand Chips,” as they’re called, are designed to be tipped directly into your mouth, keeping hands clean and dry for no-smudge, streak-free swiping, tapping, or Fruit Ninja-ing.
In a powerful embrace of the modern phone-centric lifestyle, One Hand Chips are the “new snack style humankind has been waiting for,” the company says. The ultimate historical significance of pre-smashed potato chips must be left to historians of the future, but in the meantime, it is at least clear that One Hand Chips aren’t the only modern solution to the greasy gadget problem.
It was 10 years ago that Japan offered a perhaps less elegant solution to the same problem, with their innovative “Potato Chip Hand,” which was essentially a mini plastic grabber that would turn every snack session into a scaled-down version of the arcade claw game. Advertisements at the time cited messy computer keyboards, not phone screens, as the problem to be solved, showing that no matter what stage of technology you’re talking about, people were spilling food on it.
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More recently, the McDonald’s Frork likewise took aim at messy meals, with their edible fry-based fork device with a screen-saving plastic handle. More marketing gimmick than genuine food technology, the Frork was not particularly helpful when it came to keeping screens clean, as it was essentially impossible to load fries into the device without touching them, at which point eaters may as well eat fries the traditional way and wipe their hands on the furniture like generations past.
Always the innovator, McDonald’s followed up on the concept last year, introducing the “fylus,” a whimsically fry-shaped touchscreen stylus that can be used to operate a phone regardless of the greasiness of hands.
While Japan and the United States continue to roll out increasingly embarrassing solutions to very real greasy phone problems, it’s worth mentioning that the Chinese have been using chopsticks for about 4,000 years, which incidentally are operated with one hand and completely compatible with tidy smartphone use.
Still, all things considered, it’s possible that the best solution to the problem of scrolling while eating is the simplest: don’t.
As TIME magazine reports, research shows that we are happier when we eat without using a phone at all.