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29 Jan

LUKE, I AM YOUR FORK: STOP EATING!

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If the thought of surgically shrinking your stomach seems a step too far to prevent overeating, fret not. The HAPIfork just might be the answer to a staple-free digestive tract.

The high-tech eating utensil, introduced at last month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, keeps track of every bite you eat. It also logs the length of mealtimes as well as the pace at which the fork travels from plate to mouth. All of that data is then automatically fed into a computer (via USB) or smartphone (over Bluetooth), where special apps can analyze the information for telltale patterns. If you're eating faster than your brain can tell you to stop, you can make adjustments to avoid gaining weight. No word yet on whether it can make you eat your vegetables.

If your problem isn't overeating but, say, drinking to excess, there's an app for that, too. Or at least a device that behaves like one. An MIT researcher has come up with edible LED ice cubes that, equipped with tiny transceivers, measure how much alcohol you've consumed and for how long. Once certain limits are reached, the cubes flash different colors, eventually warning both drinker and server that it's closing time.

Of course, smartforks and smartcubes will be of little use for the burger-and-a-beer crowd. And without outside accountability, users can easily ignore negative data.

The idea behind the devices, though, has legs. Any race to perfect it that equally benefits consumers and purveyors might be a win-win. Anything less will result in more clever gadgets getting hurled atop the weight-loss heap.

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Read 1604 times Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 13:52
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

Website: www.jimlillie.com
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