'Fat-Shaming' Fork Zaps You While You Eat

HAPIfork flashes and vibrates when you eat too fast
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2014 1:55 PM CDT
'Fat-Shaming' Fork Zaps You While You Eat
The HAPIfork, made by HAPILABS, smart electronic fork is seen on display at the Consumer Electronics Show.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Since you probably don't feel awful enough while eating chocolate cake, the HAPIfork is here to make you feel worse. At least that's the general consensus about the high-tech, bulky utensil that vibrates and flashes when you eat too fast, the Los Angeles Times reports. The weight-loss gadget is being criticized for "fat shaming" the hungry by tracking each "fork serving," the time between each bite, how many taken per meal, and how much time spent eating. If you eat too fast, you get a nice little shock, or "gentle vibrations," as per the company website. The Kickstarter-funded device—which is a bit pricier than your average fork at $99—stores the data and tracks eating habits by plugging it into an app.

There's a positive motivation behind the HAPIfork—slower eating leads to weight loss, improves digestion, and keeps heartburn at bay; the company suggests 60 to 75 bites per 20- to 30-minute meal, explains New York writer Jessica Roy. She turned herself into a guinea pig for a week and after eating several guilt-ridden meals with the HAPIfork, pointed out a few of its flaws: Complicated software, the inconvenience of disassembling and cleaning it after every meal, and inaccurate measurements. "Still," she writes, "after using it for a week, the HAPIfork strikes me as one step too far in a quest for the quantified self: There are some things, it turns out, I just don’t need quantified." (For more weight-loss trends, check out this one about eating ice.)

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