To combat obesity, scientists have created a weight-loss gadget that utilises magnets to prevent individuals from extending their mouths wide enough to consume solid food.
The gadget, which was created by medical experts from the University of Otago in New Zealand and scientists from Leeds in the United Kingdom, combines magnetic components with locking bolts and can be fitted by dentists, reports The Guardian.
It has, however, been ridiculed online, with some comparing it to a medieval torture device.
The University of Otago tweeted that it was "a world-first" weight-loss device "to help fight the global obesity epidemic: an intra-oral device that restricts a person to a liquid diet."
The gadget, known as the DentalSlim Diet Control, allows users to open their mouths only 2mm wide. It was first tested on seven otherwise healthy obese women from Dunedin, New Zealand, who were given a low-calorie liquid diet for two weeks.
According to a study published in the British Dental Journal, the ladies dropped an average of 6.36kg, or roughly 5.1% of their overall weight.
Participants, on the other hand, claimed that the gadget was difficult to operate and that it made speaking difficult. They claimed they were uncomfortable and that "life in general was less satisfying".
One person violated the rules and ate items they weren't permitted to, such as melted chocolate.
Prof Paul Brunton from the University of Otago said the main barrier that stopped weight loss was "compliance". He said that the tool helped to establish new habits that could kickstart the process".
He said, "It is a non-invasive, reversible, economical and attractive alternative to surgical procedures."
The DentalSlim Diet Control has received criticism online, with people on Twitter saying: "You don't need this torture device to go on a liquid diet."
The University of Otago said, "To clarify, the intention of the device is not intended as a quick or long-term weight-loss tool. Rather, it is aimed to assist people who need to undergo surgery and who cannot have the surgery until they have lost weight."
The research team behind the product included Dr Jonathan Bodansky of Leeds and Dr Richard Hall of RMH consultancy in Leeds.