Launched on Kickstarter this week, the HAPIfork is a smart eating utensil that tracks the speed at which you consume a typical meal in order to encourage slowing down for healthier digestion. Specifically, the HAPIfork keeps track of the time at which you start and stop eating a meal, the length of each meal, the length of time that passes each instance that the fork reaches your mouth and the number of servings eaten each minute in addition to the total number of servings over the entire meal.
If you are eating a meal too quickly, the HAPIfork starts to vibrate gently and a small light flips on as a secondary indicator. By slowing down when eating a meal, the user reduces the likelihood of gastric reflux and chewing food into smaller pieces allows the digestive track to process food more efficiently.
Slowing down the eating process also allows the user to naturally feel full before their entire plate is clean, potentially resulting in weight loss if this practice is repeated over time.
Similar to a fitness gadget like the Fitbit, all of the data collected by the HAPIfork is uploaded to the cloud and can be viewed within an online dashboard or through a mobile application interface. Users can choose to share their eating habits with friends in addition to uploading pictures or videos of recent meals. Comments can also be added to log nutritional information about each meal. The information can be supplied to a personal trainer or fitness coach in order to help them better understand your daily eating habits.
In order to transfer all of this data, the HAPIfork can connect to a mobile device over Bluetooth or over USB when connected directly to a desktop computer or laptop. The USB cable can also be used to charge the HAPIfork when it’s not in use.
The HAPIfork is compatible with both PC and Mac computers as well as mobile devices that include the iPhone 4S and 5, 3rd generation iPad, 5th generation iPod Touch, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II. The electronics inside the HAPIfork are protected by a waterproof plastic shell. This means the user can place the HAPIfork within a sink or dishwasher for cleaning just like any other fork. The case also protects the device from damage when the fork is dropped on the floor from time to time.
At the moment, the team behind the HAPIfork have raised approximately 22 percent of the $100,000 funding goal for the project. Assuming the project is fully funded within the next six weeks, the team will prepare for manufacturing and push the first batch of HAPIforks out to beta testers by July 2013. If the production process goes smoothly, full-scale production begins in August and the final product heads out to Kickstarter backers during September 2013. The standard price for Kickstarter backers will be $99 per HAPIfork and the smart utensil comes in various colors such as white, blue, pink, green and black. As with all Kickstarter projects, the manufacturing process is subject to possible delays and the actual ship date of the final product could be postponed multiple times.