Imagine sitting down at the dinner table and not knowing if the food in front of you is safe to eat. For many people in Japan that situation is a reality, and while the government has been issuing information about what is okay to eat and what is not, it is also the same government that earlier said that the levels of radioactivity at the Fukushima plant would not be as dire as Chernobyl. The Fukushima Plate, by Nils Ferber lets ordinary Japanese citizens make their own judgement. It is a clean white plate with a built-in radioactive meter that can visually show you your food’s level of contamination. While the design, which features OLED lights that change color depending on how radioactive your meal is, is quite pretty to look at, it is also a real tool which could, in some cases, mean the difference between life or death.
While the Japanese government has set permissible levels of radiation, Ferber feels that people should be able to choose what is safe and what is not on their own. As such, the plate allows the owner to customize levels based on their own judgement.
If your food is radiation-free, none of the OLED rings will light up and you can feast without fear. If you see one glowing ring light up, there is slightly increased radiation coming from your food but nothing malignant; two glowing rings indicate that the amount of radiation coming from your meal is significant; and finally, if the red ring lights up, the radiation coming from your food has surpassed the level you set as safe. Ferber also included a small light on the plate that shows whether the plate is working, so if no rings light up, but that little light is out, your food still may not be edible.