Geiger Counter, Meet Kitchen Counter

Photo courtesy Kevin Gaunt.


More than three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the World Health Organization has changed its tune on food from Japan’s northern provinces, assuring most products’ safety. But locals remain skeptical.

That problem inspired five design students at Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden to model a radiation scanner for kitchen countertops. It isn’t functional yet, but the concept explores how a device could help the devastated area reclaim its local food economy. “Part of the challenge is we found some level of radiation in all products,” says Kevin Gaunt, one of the student collaborators. “Bananas are [naturally] quite radioactive.”

Almost all of that radiation is benign. So, rather than alarm its users, the device would limit information. Get a chime and a smile? Eat away. Get a groan and a frown? Better toss that nuclear salmon.

Geiger Counter, Meet Kitchen Counter