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If someone offered you a fork filled with sensors to inform you that you are eating too fast, would you give them $100 for it? This is the hoped outcome of the Hapifork, a utensil designed to improve weight loss wellness by vibrating and then lighting up if you take consecutive bites of your food too quickly. Now, its creators Hapilabs is about to find out if there’s actually a market for such a device.
The Hapifork was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and has since been awash in mainstream media attention. Big names, such as Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, and even ABC News, have reported on the colourful, thicker-than-average fork, but does that mean that people are actually going to buy it? Hapilabs is going straight to the consumer to gauge if there is a demand for this new device, being the rare kind of tech company that fits into the guidelines of Kickstarter. This is a crowdfunding site where developers can launch a project funding campaign, and Hapilabs aims to raise $100,000 to manufacture and distribute what is now still a prototype device.
According to Jacques Lépine, a French entrepreneur and inventor of the Hapifork, ‘The most important thing for us is the validation of the consumer market.’ The invention of the Hapifork came out of Lépine’s own problems with eating too quickly, alienating his wife as he often left her eating alone. At one point, Lépine’s speedy eating had him scared for his wellbeing, as an incident with indigestion that made him think he was having a heart attack and landed him in the hospital.
Lépine tried to modify his fast eating on his own but he could not, and so decided ‘I must make the fork intelligent.’ The Hapifork’s intelligence comes from its internal sensor chips and software, which are set for a pace of 10 seconds in between bites or longer, if you prefer. Kickstarter funders will be able to access the fork before the general public, with the utensil being available in blue, green and with its own colour-coordinated case to make it easy to carry everywhere. Depending on how much you invest, you could receive a 10% discount, be included in the first commercial batch or even be part of the true geek beta testing programme and receive the Hapifork at the earliest possible availability.