We hear fables of how to restore the crispness to your crisp and the crackle to your crackers, but they are more hot air than some of the methods. We found one solution that has some teeth though, and it doesn’t require any kitchen appliances, just a pair of headphones. Keep reading before you mash potato chips into your Beats. [Charles Spence] co-authors a paper with [Massimiliano Zampini] titled The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips. It’s a mouthful, so folks refer to it as the “Sonic Chip Experiment,” which rolls off the tongue. The paper is behind paywalls, but you can find it if you know where to look.
The experiment puts participants in some headphones while they eat Pringles, and researchers feed them different sound waves. Sometimes the sound file is a recording of crackly chewing, and other times it is muffled mastication. The constant was the Pringles, which are a delight for testing because they are uniform. Participants report that some chips are fresher than others. This means we use our ears to help judge consumable consistency. Even people who knew all about the experiment report they can willingly fool themselves with the recordings.
What other foods would benefit from the augmented crunch, and which ones would suffer? If shapely food is your jam, we have a holy cookie which is probably best enjoyed with your eyes. If you prefer your Skittles organized by color, we have you covered.
Continue reading “Don’t Trust Your Ears For The Freshest Chips” →
Anyone who has had to deal with siblings, their friends, flatmates or parents who are overly fond of snacks may know this issue: you bought some snacks for your own consumption, but before you can get to them they have vanished. Naturally, nobody knows what happened to said snacks and obviously outraged that anyone would dare to do such a dastardly thing like eating someone else’s snacks.
This is the premise behind British inventor [Colin Furze]’s new series of YouTube videos (embedded after the break). Teaming up with former Scotland Yard detective [Peter Bleksley], their goal is to find ways to hide snacks around the house where curious and peckish individuals will not find them. Though a snack-company sponsored series (Walkers) and featuring snack names that will ring no bells for anyone outside of the UK, it nevertheless shows some innovative ways to hide snacks.
The first episode shows how one can hide snacks (or something else, naturally) inside a door. The second tweaks a standing lamp to add some hidden drawers, and the third episode creates a hidden compartment behind a television. Perhaps the most intriguing part of these episodes is the way it highlights how easy it is to not just hide snacks around the house, but also devices for automation and monitoring. Just think how one could use these tricks for IoT projects and the like.
Continue reading “Inventor And Detective Create Range Of Snack-Hiding Devices” →
Seems like just about every hackerspace eventually ends up with an old vending machine that gets hacked and modded to serve up parts, tools, and consumables. But why don’t more hackerspaces build their own vending machines from scratch? Because as [Ryan Bates] found out, building a DIY vending machine isn’t as easy as it looks.
[Ryan]’s “Venduino” has a lot of hackerspace standard components – laser-cut birch plywood case, Parallax continuous rotation servos, an LCD screen from an old Nokia phone, and of course an Arduino. The design is simple, but the devil is in the details. The machine makes no attempt to validate the coins going into it, the product augurs are not quite optimized to dispense reliably, and the whole machine can be cleaned out of product with a few quick shakes. Granted, [Ryan] isn’t trying to build a reliable money-making machine, but his travails only underscore the quality engineering behind modern vending machines. It might not seem like it when your Cheetos are dangling from the end of an auger, but think about how many successful transactions the real things process in an environment with a lot of variables.
Of course, every failure mode is just something to improve in the next version, but as it is this is still a neat project with some great ideas. If you’re more interested in the workings of commercial machines, check out our posts on listening in on vending machine comms or a Tweeting vending machine.
Continue reading “Venduino Serves Snacks, Shows Vending Is Tricky Business” →