Well this brings a whole new dimension to the no-technology-at-the-table rule that I have during family dinner. The Napkin Table is designed so diners have to concentrate on the food or each other or their meal might go flying. They have to communicate with each other if they need to stand up or grab something that’s not within immediate reach, including a cellphone.
The use of cellphones and other technology at the dining table is becoming a real problem. People are missing the valuable opportunity to connect with each other. In our fast-paced world, sometimes the dining table is the only place people come face-to-face for more than two minutes at a time during the average day.
The Napkin Table is one solution to that problem. It’s a wacky (as ABC News calls it), solution to be sure, but it's what the creators had in mind when they designed it.
"Generally, we often chitchat with friends through the meal," they said. "However, with more and more people addicted to mobile technology, it happens more frequently that people have meals with absence of mind."
Take a look at how it works.
The young man in the video is taller than the young woman, and his side of the table slopes down a bit. If one of the dining partners is much taller than the other, food will go tumbling. Several of the commenters on YouTube mentioned that sneezing or coughing could cause problems, too. When eating outside with the Napkin Table, a strong wind could also result in a disaster.
I don’t see the Napkin Table taking off, but I do see it as something to talk about to highlight the problem of technology at the table – perhaps it would even make a useful family dinner discussion topic.
Talking about the Napkin Table could open up a discussion about any issues that you have with your partner or your family using technology at the table. This Chinese experimental product is definitely useful for that. For actual dining, however, I’m skeptical.
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