Courtesy of Just Eat

The land that brought you Harry Potter wants to bring a bit of magic to online delivery ordering.

Mike Pomranz
December 08, 2017

From picking up a phone and dialing to picking up a smartphone and tappig to talking to a digital assistant, technology has continued to make ordering food easier and easier. In fact, compared to what we used to do, the way food is ordered online today is a bit like magic. But for the London-based online food delivery giant Just Eat, “a bit like magic” isn’t good enough. The brand wants to make ordering food literally like magic—with new technology that can let customers place an order simply by waving a wand.

Called the Just Eat Ordering Wand, this new prototype the company is currently testing uses “cutting-edge Chirp soundwave technology” to send “an encrypted sound signal” to a Just Eat mobile app. All you have to do is press a button on the wand and give it a wave. For now, like similar push-of-a-button ordering devices, your options are a bit restricted: Users can only place a favorite order from the Just Eats platform. However, the wand does offer other helpful features: For instance, an LED light on the tip of the wand flashes to confirm your order has gone through, and it’s restricted to only one order an hour, preventing a few errant flicks from landing you more meals than you can handle.

Eventually, the brand suggests that “potential applications of the Wand include enabling group ordering and bill splitting with friends using the wand; delivery drivers being able to share on-the-spot promotional offers and being able to receive promotional offers or discounts via radio or TV ads.”

Additionally, this technology was created with the help of Charles Spence, the Oxford University food scientist whose name pops up in all sorts of interesting food-related research from how certain music can enhance how food tastes to how packaging can trick your taste buds. “Fun improves your mood which enhances your taste of the food,” said Spence. “A wand has a special place in our psyche, thanks to the popularity of magic shows and Harry Potter. It appeals to our inner child and evokes happy memories. Anything that makes your mind happier, makes your taste buds happier.”

Sadly, at this point, the Just Eat Ordering Wand is only in beta testing and is not available to the general public, though a representative for the company said that if tests are successful, it could be introduced “in the near future.” “It’s still very much at trial stage, but it has the potential to make mealtimes magical,” Graham Corfield, Just Eat’s UK Managing Director, added. In the meantime, we'll just keep dreaming about shouting "Expecto Pad Thai-num!" to make dinner appear.