Brilliant IKEA dinner table outsmarts mealtime smartphone users!

ban smartphones at dinnerSit four people around the dinner table, and at see that least three are tethered to their smartphones (well, someone’s got to cook and serve). What’s a conversation-starved hostess to do? Head to IKEA Taiwan where designers have cooked up a table that encourages real-time relationships, eye contact and chat.  You remember those once-essential ingredients to a decent mealtime experience.IKEA’s concept centers around the “hotpot”, an Asian culinary tradition best compared to Swiss or Austrian fondue. Hotpot and fondue don’t headline in Arabia, so substitute Jordanian makloubeh, a Moroccan lamb tagine, or a big pot of soup from the Soup for Syria cookbook to get the picture. The result is the same, create a very social means of dining where you gather around a table and take your food from a shared pot.

In order to heat the food centered on IKEA’s table, diners have to provide fuel by placing their smartphones beneath the raised cooking platform. The more mobile phones below the hotpot, the warmer the food. To increase the cooking temperature, cooperation between table mates is necessary. Some immediately complied while others touched the table surface, checking if their phones might also be cooked. And soon conversation began.

Watch the video below to learn more about this experiment. The dining experience seems to be a hit with the people in the video, and once they move past the novelty of the technology, everyone tucks into real dinner conversation.

Scientists study the harmful physical effects of regular cellular phone use, and now, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies cell phones as carcinogenic category 2b, that is, potentially carcinogenic to humans. The raft of findings about the social, mental and behavioral effects of technology addiction are far more conclusive, and overwhelmingly negative.

You don’t need a new table or a glass dining table and chairs (wow!) to get on the right track.  Put down the phone and pick up a conversation.

Images: YouTube/IKEA Taiwan 宜家家居

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