April 24, 2013
HapiFork May Lead To A Happy Body More So Than A Happy Plate
Smart technology has contributed much to our lives. We have phones that help us stay organized and keep us in touch with our loved ones in myriad ways. Then there are computers that allow us to ‘see’ each other even when we are continents apart. And think about the smart technology advances in gadgets from the Roomba (a robot vacuum cleaner) to iPods and other music devices to toothbrushes that tell us to change quadrants when we are brushing, and oh so much more.
Well, now smart technology has contributed once again to the diet and health sector. CNN recently reported about the smart fork called HapiFork. The HapiFork works to help users count bites during meals and maybe shame them into eating slower and potentially losing weight.
Here’s how it works. As a person begins a meal, one must hold down a button to turn on the HapiFork. When the tines of the smart fork touch the mouth, the bite is tallied and the data is sent to a smartphone via Bluetooth or can be uploaded using a micro USB port. It will power down automatically after usage stops, and one can easily remove the core with all the electronics in order to wash the fork. All in all, it is a pretty handy device. CNN clarified further:
“The fork can be used to passively track eating habits and automatically sync that information, including duration of meals and frequency of forkfuls, with a smartphone. The HapiFork mobile app will also include a coaching program and tools to connect with friends and family.
The device can also be set up for behavior modification, vibrating any time the diner is eating too quickly as a gentle reminder to slow down. By default it is set to allow a bite every 10 seconds, though the exact time is customizable.”
And it’s not overwhelmingly expensive. It is, by no means cheap, but it is affordable. At $99 (USD), this smart device could be a real aid in the process of healthy eating. The HapiFork is a creation of HapiLabs, which invented the fork seven years ago under the lead of Jacques Lepine. They believe in the theory that it takes 21 days to establish something as habit, so if one uses the fork for 21 days, it will effectively retrain the user to eat slower.
Here are some interesting facts that HapiLabs has learned thus far in its testing:
- People take about 70 fork bites per meal
- They start eating fast but slow down six minutes into a meal
- Eaters will eat rice much faster than pasta
Okay, so maybe none of that is particularly life changing, but if we know we eat fast in the first six minutes of a meal, then we can focus on regulating that eating speed so that we do not overeat. Moreover, if we are watching our carb intake without completely eliminating carbs, then knowing that we eat pasta slower can help us control those carbs.
Research findings like these provide us with tidbits to better understand the focus of the research. In this case, the HapiFork has already provided some great data. Now, once more and more people start using it, we all might have a greater stake in self-tracking our health.
Image Credit: HapiLabs