Tired of chewing and swallowing? A Harvard professor has come up with a unique alternative to such mundane tasks — a machine called Le Whaf that turns food and drink into smoky clouds of flavor an epicurean can inhale. Here, a brief instant guide:

What does Le Whaf look like?
This "futuristic machine" resembles a cross between a huge goldfish bowl and a hookah pipe.

Does it work with any food or drink?
Not quite. For liquids, including alcohol, you simply pour 50 ml into the machine's base to get going. Solid foods, however, are trickier. Users must buy a special liquified version of the food, made by Le Whaf's inventors.

How does it work?
Le Whaf's base is filled with tiny crystals. When the machine is turned on, these crystals rapidly vibrate, creating ultrasound waves that transform liquids into clouds of tiny droplets that can then be inhaled.

Who invented it?
Le Whaf is the brain-child of David Edwards, a Harvard professor and aerosol scientist — who's "compared more often to Willy Wonka than Einstein" — and culinary designer Marc Bretillot. Edwards previously created a product called Le Whif, a small device that looks an asthma inhaler and allows users to inhale a quick fix of chocolate. He is also one of the founders of Pulmatrix, a pharmaceutical startup that is testing special aerosols (created much the same way that Le Whaf produces its flavor clouds) as a way to fight respiratory disease.

Is inhaling a calorie-free experience?
No. Anyone using Le Whaf (a.k.a. "whaffing") for 10 minutes is consuming roughly 200 calories. Still, "it's good for dieters,"  Edwards says. It's also a great way "for foodies to savour flavors."

Yum. Where can I get a Le Whaf of my own?
There are currently only two Le Whaf prototypes in existence, one of them in Paris. Edwards hopes to begin selling the machines in France later this year for less than $150.

Sources: Daily Mail, Telegraph, Ego Design