June 2, 2014— -- While mobile technology has made communication easier than ever, it's causing a lot of people to check out during mealtime.
All over the world, diners are answering calls mid-lunch, staring at screens under the table or forking with one hand while texting with the other -- much to the chagrin of moms everywhere.
In response, an experimental product has been created in China that forces its users to focus on their food and their dining companions.
Introducing, the Napkin Table: a small platform that attaches to a person's neck at either end, like an adult bib built for two.
"Generally, we often chitchat with friends through the meal," said the creators in the product statement. "However, with more and more people addicted to mobile technology, it happens more frequently that people have meals with absence of mind."
In order to not have a bowl of soup fall in one's lap or to accidentally hurl a plate of wings at one's girlfriend, the Napkin Table requires both wearers to keep plates level and attention straight ahead.
While its creators don't intend for the product to replace traditional tables, they do hope it will inspire a new dialogue around proper eating culture.
"Napkin Table is not a product focusing on how to solve the problem of a modern eating habit (eating with cellphone)," read the statement, but hopes that "users could reflect on this dining phenomenon."