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HAPIfork: The smart fork that monitors your eating habits

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January 10, 2013

HAPIfork and the HAPILABS Suite

HAPIfork and the HAPILABS Suite

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One of the quirkier innovations Gizmag has clapped eyes on at this year's CES, the HAPIfork is an electronic eating utensil that monitors the extent and rate of your eating. The HAPIfork was originally developed for clinical use to encourage slower eating, with the aim of combating weight gain from hurried eating that some research suggests doesn't give the body the time it needs to feel full from more moderate food intake. Additionally, HAPILABS claims that its HAPIfork will reduce digestive problems and gastric reflux associated with rapid ingestion.

In essence this is a fork with an engorged handle, containing a host of electronics, including a Micro US connector, capacitive detection, a vibration pack, two LEDs, all of which are powered by a 3.7 V lithium polymer battery. Together these make a fork that times not only how long it takes you to eat a meal, and, by knowing when the fork is lifted to the mouth, the rate at which food is eaten. Apparently an LED will blink at you disparagingly if the HAPIfork thinks you're eating too fast.

Soup eaters take note: when demonstrated at CES, Gizmag saw the HAPIfork also fitted with a spoon attachment, so upon its release the HAPIfork my prove more versatile than the name implies.

The HAPIfork will also talk to the HAPILABS Suite, an online dashboard and mobile app that logs data pertaining to meals, sleep and exercise and reports data over time in the form of stats and graphs. Apparently one call also share "HAPImoments," or pictures and videos to you and me, bringing social networking features to the Suite (albeit with an awful awful awful name).

While I quite like the idea of a "smart fork" that can quietly monitor my eating habits and, through accompanying software, show my data in, er, easy to digest form, I'm less keen on the idea of uppity cutlery telling me what to do. The benefits of eating slower won't be news to anyone that keeps an eye on the health and science press, or to anyone that has tried it for themselves. Having an LED indicator flash at you to tell you to slow down suggests this device could actually reinforce mentally-disengaged, eating in front of the TV, say. But perhaps I'm a luddite uncomfortable with outsourcing self-restraint to a piece of garish plastic (though the black and white options are fine, in fairness).

The Verge reports that a USB version of the HAPIfork will launch in Q2 of this year for US$99.99. A Bluetooth-equipped edition which can be paired with a mobile device is apparently set for Q3.

Sources: HAPILABS, The Verge

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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5 Comments

This looks very interesting. From a health perspective could Speech and Language Therapists (SALT) and Occupational Therapists utilise this when re-educating people after something like a Stroke. Just a thought.

Suckemnsee
10th January, 2013 @ 05:20 am PST

I think this is an awesome idea for someone like me' that has spent all his or her's life only having a limited time to eat breakfast or lunch due to work etc. Hard habit to break! My Mother always used to say and I quote "Slow down nobodies gonna steal your food" or "Where's the fire?" lol What do you guys think about the new "Smartfork"?

Dayle Modrits Brennan
10th January, 2013 @ 12:56 pm PST

If you need a fork to tell you you are eating to much, then you need more than a fork that tells you you are eating to much.

Sean Stout
12th January, 2013 @ 08:38 am PST

Thank you for your fair review James,

As a founder of HAPILABS, I just want to react to your well-said comment: "I'm a luddite uncomfortable with outsourcing self-restraint to a piece of garish plastic (though the black and white options are fine, in fairness)."

Well, the HAPIfork is just a pro-active alert system intended to HELP you eating more slowly: it doesn't FORBID you to eat fast, it just tells you when you do :))

Experience and our own surveys say eating slowly is not that easy for most of the people!

When you want to eat more slowly, there are a number of things that you can do: you can count up to twenty in your head between servings, or you can drop your fork on the table after each bite, etc... This can be easy to do for one or two meals, but when you’re sharing a meal with family and friends, that’s probably not the way you want to enjoy the moment. That’s where the HAPIfork can help! With gentle signals that alert you when you are eating too fast, it allows you to eat mindfully while keeping the social and enjoyable dimension of what a meal should be.

We had many opportunities to discuss this topic with behavioral specialists who have been very supportive of new tools and ideas that can help people change their habits. And HAPIfork is definitely an excellent tool in changing eating habits when it comes to eating. With HAPIfork, it is not the fork that controls you and tells you what to do, rather the HAPIfork enables you to take control of your health by being informed of your eating habits.

Philippe Monteiro Da Rocha
26th January, 2013 @ 07:45 pm PST

And I need this because??? I guess I have to take my nanny fork/spoon with me when I dine out. This is a silly product.

Rexmano
20th April, 2013 @ 02:16 am PDT
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