The internet long ago figured out that the extended reach of chopsticks made them a great snacking tool to keep fingers clean while enjoying anything covered in powdered cheese. There’s always room for improvement, however, which brings us to the finger-worn Snactiv which appears to address some of the shortcomings of chopsticks, including their learning curve.
Considered in some cultures to be less barbaric than eating with a knife and fork (which are arguably just miniaturized versions of a trident and dagger), chopsticks are a great way to reach for messy snacks, even when buried at the bottom of a chip bag, while keeping hands and fingers clean so they can, in turn, keep computers, phones, tablets, and even video game controllers free of flavored dust. But chopsticks aren’t easy to use, and it can take years to develop the fine control needed to snag a piece of popcorn. When properly using a pair of chopsticks your hand isn’t free to do much else, either.
Like fingers, chopsticks will also quickly get dirty, and you’ll need a place to occasionally set them down between taking bites and whatever other activity you’re doing. That’s why chopstick rests exist, but then you’re just introducing more stuff that will get dirty and need cleaning.
The Snactiv doesn’t completely reimagine chopsticks but instead uses them as a starting point for a new utensil that’s better suited for certain snacking scenarios. The plastic tines of the Snactiv are permanently attached to a flexible hinge that also serves as a spring to keep them open, and while it’s still operated by the user’s fingers, it simply rests between two of them and requires nothing more than a gentle squeeze to grab a snack item.
Besides their ease of operation and zero learning curve, the other advantage Snactiv has over traditional chopsticks is that they don’t need to be set down between bites and instead just rest between a user’s fingers when not in use. When removed, their design also allows them to stand on their own while keeping their powder-covered tines elevated so as not to dirty other surfaces.
If there’s one drawback to the Snactiv it’s that you can’t find it in stores yet. It’s starting life through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that’s already raised more than twice its $20,000 funding goal. The cheapest way to pre-order one is with a $19 contribution, although an extra $4 will also nab you a carrying case because the opportunity to snack could arise at any time, and you definitely want to be prepared.
As with any Kickstarter, there are risks involved, but the Snactiv isn’t exactly a complicated gadget and requires nothing more than a plastic injection machine to churn them out. Its creators are looking to raise funds to cover the costs of creating the injection moulds needed to mass-produce the Snactiv and to cover inventory expenses. Shipping is expected sometime in September, which its creators claim is actually an exaggerated estimate to compensate for any unforeseen delays that might arise. Is it a solution to a decidedly first-world problem? Absolutely. But with gadgets like smartphones costing well north of $1,000 now, why risk your expensive investment choking to death on some nacho cheese flavoring?
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)