By Noah Kaufman
Updated February 18, 2016

The straw—simply put, it is the scourge of movie theaters and romantic restaurants the world over. Nothing can ruin a mood like the, “SSSHHHHHHHHSHHHHH” sucking sound from a nearly empty Coke. Keenly aware of this fact, a Japanese student has made it his mission to end the tyranny of straw sucking once and for all with a silent straw. Sure, the Life Straw might let you use actually polluted water to hydrate yourself in the wilderness and help bring much needed to water to parts of the world lacking resources, but silent straw technology? Now, that’s a revolution. Kyoto University named Kotaru Takahashi as one of the finalists for its Student Projects for the Enhancement of Creativity for his efforts to silence straws the world over. Other finalists include a student who hopes to use nano explosives to aid in surgery, although I don’t know how that will help me enjoy a Liam Neeson thriller more.

Takahashi thinks he can make a straw whose interior will reduce the small amount of liquid left in a drink, which causes the noise that so many people hate. For his work, Takahashi will receive a grant that could be as much as $4,400 to further research his project, which, he says, still has serious hurdles to get over like the problem of “hard sucking.” From there he does hope to bring the silent straw worldwide. We can only hope it’s done in time for the summer blockbuster season.

Donations for the silent straw (and the more serious SPEC projects) are currently being accepted through Kyoto University’s website.