Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Don't eat too fast or fork will fink

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LAS VEGAS -- If you've always wanted a fork that spies on your eating habits, you're in luck: A company has developed a utensil that records when you lift it to your mouth.

The electronic fork is one of the gadgets getting attention this week at the International CES in Las Vegas, an annual showcase of the latest TVs, computers and other consumer electronic devices.

WHAT IT IS: The HAPIfork is a fork with a fat handle containing electronics and a battery. It's made by HapiIabs, which is based in the land of slow, languorous meals -- France.

HOW IT WORKS: The fork contains a motion sensor, so it can figure out when it's being lifted to the mouth. If it senses you're eating too fast, it warns with you with a vibration and a blinking light. The company believes using the fork 60 to 75 times during meals lasting from 20 to 30 minutes is ideal.

Between meals, you can connect the fork to a computer or phone and upload data on how fast you're eating, for long-term tracking.

The electronics are waterproof, so you can wash the fork in the sink. If you want to put it in the dishwasher, you have to remove the electronics first.

WHY YOU'D WANT IT: Nutritional experts recommend eating slowly because it takes about 20 minutes to start feeling full. If you eat fast, you may eat too much. The fork is also designed to space your forkfuls so you have time to chew each one properly. It's like having your mother in a utensil!

WHAT IT DOESN'T DO: The fork has no clue about the nutritional content of your food or how big your forkfuls are. It can't tell if you're shovelling lard or stabbing peas individually.

AVAILABILITY: The company is launching a fundraising campaign for the fork in March on the group-fundraising site Kickstarter.com. Participants need to put down $99 for a fork, which is expected to ship around April or May. Those forks will connect to computers through USB cables.

Later this year, the company plans to start selling Bluetooth-enabled forks to the general public. No price was disclosed for that version.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 B7

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