Twenty-first century technology has engendered some interesting food related inventions. Some are ingenious, while others are just plain ridiculous — you be the judge.
An inventor has supposedly created the world’s first “smart fork” — a fork that informs the user if they’re over eating.
According to Daniel Jones, Consumer Editor from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jacques Lepine’s HAPIfork is described as “intelligent cutlery”, and features a sensor that knows when you use it to pick up food, put it in your mouth, and then when you return it to your plate.
When the fork determines the user is eating too much food, the fork vibrates and lights up on the handle. The fork will track the duration of a meal, the number of fork servings and the duration of each interval between servings.
After meals the fork also uploads data to a smartphone app to help you keep track of your eating habits. Lepine, the inventor, says he came up with the idea after his wife complained that he ate too fast.
“I knew that I was eating too quickly and I had to modify my habits. Although I tried to eat slowly, I’d quickly start thinking about something else — I couldn’t control myself,” Lepine said.
The smart fork took seven years to develop and will be marketed as a weight loss aid.
“The HAPIfork’s makers claim that people only naturally feel full after about 20 minutes of eating, and so by diminishing the amount eaten in that period users will eat less and consequently lose weight.”
The HAPIfork goes on sale in the US in April for $99 and is expected to be offered in the UK soon after.
Daniel Jones clams the fork was unveiled at a preview event for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas which showcases the latest technology.
Smart Ice Cubes
For those of us who overindulge in both food and drink, there’s a device for that too. Dhairya Dand, an MIT Media Labs researcher, has created a prototype for ice cubes that monitor how much you drink.
The ice cubes are waterproof jelly made to look like cubes, and are equipped with LEDs and a device that measures movement.
According to Nic Halverson at Discovery News, each ice cube is equipped with a colored LED, an accelerometer, IR receivers and a battery, all molded into a waterproof jelly that protects the circuitry and doesn’t compromise the taste of the drink.
“The accelerometer counts the number of sips one takes and compares it with a timer to calculate one’s level of intoxication.”
The cubes keep track of your intake, and change from green to orange to red based on how much you consume. They can also be programmed to send a text message to the drinker’s close friends if he or she has gone over the limit.
And because the cubes are sensitive to vibration, they flash when music is being played.
But as Halverson points out, since body weight and alcohol tolerance factor into one’s intoxication, the smart cubes are more of a considerate, novelty reminder than an exhaustive solution.