Your mother told you not to inhale your food, but if you want to indulge in the pleasures of chocolate without the attendant calories, you may just want to take a whiff. David Edwards, a member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, has created a mini-inhaler—dubbed Le Whif—that shoots a chocolate mist into the mouth, mimicking, he says, the experience of savoring the real thing.
Edwards, whose science background involves the development of inhalers for drug delivery, conceived of Le Whif when chatting with a chef friend about food and technology. “With medical inhalers, you want the aerosol particles to enter the lungs, not the mouth,” he explains. “It was a simple adjustment to design an inhaler so particles are released in the mouth, not the lungs.”
The result is a gadget that delivers the high-intensity flavor of chocolate, coffee, and other epicurean delights. Also in the works: Le Whaf, a device that disperses liquid particles into the air, making it possible to “drink” by breathing.
Although critics argue that Le Whif is simply a gimmick, Edwards considers it the product of a union between science and art. “This is just one more way of experiencing food,” he says. “It can make some culinary encounters quite different, which is fun.”