(NEW YORK) — It has been a year of smart — or connected — gadgets. We’ve seen smart diapers, guns and even pens, but it all began with a smart fork that was announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Called the Hapifork, the smart utentsil has a small computer inside that records your eating patterns and vibrates when you eat too fast. For instance, if you take two bites within less than 10 seconds it will gently vibrate to tell you to slow down. With Bluetooth inside, it pairs with your smartphone so you can adjust the vibration settings and see more detailed information about how fast you are eating. The app and website also lets you track what you are eating.
It sounds wacky, especially the idea of having to charge your battery-powered fork, but the gadget is finally making its real debut. It is available for pre-order for $99 at Brookstone.com and will be sold at Brookstone stores starting Oct. 18. The fork, available in a selection of colors, is now shipping to those who bought the early versions and invested in the project on Kickstarter.
But why is the speed of how you eat important? When we spoke with the company in January, the CEO and founder of HapiLabs Fabrice Boutain said he “created HapiLabs to help people take control of their happiness, health and fitness. Fifty percent of your health comes from what you eat. That’s where HapiFork comes in.”
Hapifork also says on its website that eating slower can help with weight gain and digestive problems.
But does eating too fast really matter and is this fork more than just another crazy connected gadget? According to one doctor, it certainly isn’t a bad idea. Dr. David L. Katz, author of Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well, says that unlike many diet fads this can’t hurt.
“By slowing meals down, it may reduce calorie intake, and raise overall attention to eating,” Katz told ABC News. “It’s no panacea, but if you tend to wolf down your food, this fork in the road is for you.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio