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Sci-Tech

Draw on your food with this remarkable pen

The CinniBird lets you write messages on your mashed potatoes or draw smiley faces on your oatmeal. Now that's a pen.

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CinniBird adds a little extra "color" to your meals. Oliarts Studio

Your mother might have told you not to play with your food, but I'm pretty sure she never said anything about drawing on your food.

Good thing, because otherwise you wouldn't be able to enjoy using the CinniBird pen, now more than halfway through its Kickstarter campaign.

The idea for the CinniBird -- which has already surpassed its $5,000 Kickstarter goal -- is pretty simple. You put some kind of ground spice or powder in the chamber (in one demo video the makers use powdered cocoa), snap it closed and then push a button that expels the substance in a neat little line wherever you need it.

You can decorate the foam on lattes, make designs on the edges of plates or leave messages for someone special on their morning bowl of oatmeal.

The Kickstarter page didn't say what kind of batteries the gadget uses, so I checked with CinniPen inventor Balazs Oltvai to find out. He said it uses two LR44 1.5 volt watch-style batteries, which will only last about three months under normal use -- so this thing can chew up some serious power.

Also, if you're thinking about pledging ($45, or about £29, AU$54, will net you one, including international shipping), it's important to note that Oltvai has already run a crowdfunding campaign for this very device on Indiegogo. That campaign closed in June and raised $5,652 on a $2,000 goal. I asked Otavi why he was fundraising again and he said, "Kickstarter has a different customer base than Indiegogo. We wanted to reach a bigger crowd, to make CinniBird more popular." That may well be, but I always get a little suspicious when campaigns are run on different platforms sequentially because it starts to seem a bit like an easy money scheme more than a serious product development plan.

But in this case, everything seems to above board. The video for the device shows a working CinniBird pen, so the whole thing certainly seems feasible. There's also an official website for the device along with a users manual and "how to" video. I even asked Oltvai if he fulfilled the pens from the first campaign and he said that they all went out on time, so pledging in this campaign seems like a pretty good bet. And really, who wouldn't want to bet on something that'll let you write secret spy messages on your mashed potatoes in ground pepper whenever the need arises?

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Oliarts Studio