Two Japanese scientists won the Ig Nobel Nutrition prize Thursday for their study on how electric currents in utensils such as straws can change the perception of taste.

Homei Miyashita, 47, a professor at Meiji University, and Hiromi Nakamura, 37, a project associate professor at the University of Tokyo, accepted the prize for a paper they authored, the organizer of the spoof award said.

"I am very honored," Miyashita said in an email to Kyodo News before the ceremony.

Undated photo shows electrified straws in a cup, which can change the perception of taste. (Photo courtesy of Hiromi Nakamura)(Kyodo) 

"The thesis was published in 2011 and since then, further progress has been made in research," he said, including the development of utensils that can help people to taste salt in food with the help of electricity even if the amount is low.

Nakamura, who was a graduate student at Meiji University when the paper was published, said, "I am glad that the thesis, which marked the beginning of my research on gustation with electricity, was highly evaluated."

It is the 17th consecutive year that a Japanese national has won an Ig Nobel Prize.

In the co-authored paper titled "Augmented Gustation Using Electricity," the researchers showed how humans can augment the power of taste with the help of electric stimulus via two electrically conductive straws. They also made prototype systems using chopsticks and a fork.

Humans perceive an electric stimulus as having a "sour or metallic taste," according to the paper.

"The goal of our system is to obtain a new layer of tongue that can detect tastes that we could not perceive previously," they said in the paper.

The Ig Nobel prizes, in 10 categories, were created in 1991 by U.S. science magazine Annals of Improbable Research as a parody of the Nobel Prizes.

Undated photo shows a pair of electrified chopsticks that can change the perception of taste. (Photo courtesy of Hiromi Nakamura)(Kyodo)