Americans spend billions every year on weight loss programs, books and gadgets. Here is yet another, introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The HAPIfork may be the most costly piece of silverware you will ever buy. But if it helps to curb tendencies to overeat in some, it may be worth its weight in gold.
HAPIforks measures how fast you are eating
The HAPIfork, made by Hong Kong-based HAPILABS, works on the principle that many people eat too quickly, meaning that they have overeaten by the time they realize they are full. The instrument was originally developed for clinical use, but has been adapted into a consumer version.
The high-tech fork measures your eating patterns using three different metrics — how much time you spend eating, how much time you take between bites and how many bites you actually take. The data it gathers can then be looked at online via a USB port in the utensil’s thick handle and an accompanying computer app.
The buzz is you’re eating too quickly
Additionally, if the smart fork thinks you are eating too quickly, it will start vibrating, alerting you — and the others at your table, perhaps — that you are shoveling it in at a too-rapid clip.
HAPILABS also says its smart utensil can help those with acid reflux, which can be exacerbated by eating too quickly.
There is a spoon version, too, or rather a spoon attachment that clips onto the same electronic handle.
The utensil also comes with a 21-day training plan to use in conjunction with it, for a more effective weight-shedding experience.
What about finger foods?
What the system does not address is foods that are eaten without a fork or spoon. That conjures up images of fatty and caloric foods that probably should be eschewed anyway in an effective weight-loss program — things like burgers, burritos, chips and pizza. However, what about healthier finger foods like raw vegetables and boiled eggs?
It seems that serious users of the HAPIfork will either have to give up finger foods or learn to eat them with a fork.
On sale in second quarter
The HAPIfork and HAPIspoon will go on sale some time between March 1 and June 30, 2013. The basic unit will sell for bout $99. A Bluetooth version, the company says, is on its way and will be available in the third quarter of 2013.
Bon Appetit… but chew slowly.