By this point in your life of mining the internet for weird shit, you've no doubt heard of the HAPIfork, that utensil that aims to keep you from eating your marshmallow gummy bear casserole too quickly by vibrating if you start behaving like a ravenous jackal and take bites any faster than at a stately 10-second interval. The fork looks like a sex toy-fork hybrid that was accidentally created when some careless assembly line employee at the Fork-n-Dildo factory fell asleep for a few minutes and forgot to sort a fork out of the dildo pile. Shit happens, you know? Well-meaning people make mistakes, which is why the HAPIfork exists in the first place — to make sure that dieters are at least maintaining their dignity when they shovel food into their mouths.
Fresh for the resolute eaters of the New Year, the Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern has reviewed the $100 (!) HAPIfork, offering a sober-ish assessment of what seems like a joke gift you'd give to someone you despise in a really passive-aggressive way. The fork, which will blink red and buzz if you take two bites within a ten-second interval, aims to make people more conscious of their eating habits (the ten-second rule should, according to Hapilabs, the fork's maker, make well-proportioned meals last 20 minutes, which is just enough time for you to finish before the hyenas and vultures show up to push you off of your kill).
The HAPIfork marks the arrival of mechanized diet sentries, which will only get pushier and more potent as technology improves. Even the fork, a relatively unimposing device, seems to have a frightening air of cold, merciless authority. Writes Stern,
During setup, the fork asked me to identify my eating style. Was I a "picker" or a "scooper"? The fork is supposed to use this to recognize movements, but I still had to move the fork to my mouth in very specific way for it to recognize each bite. When I used the tines to stab chicken and broccoli, it registered all my bites, but almost none of my scoops of rice were counted.
While eating I kept one eye on the app's countdown on my phone. "Great timing!" it blinked when I separated bites by more than 10 seconds.
Haha, what a cute, encouraging fork, right? Except that this fork is the first model in a long line of diet bots that will culminate with a T-800 torso perched creepily in a high chair, staring at you with its soulless red eyes, prepared to vaporize your entire meal if you so much as think about trying to eat more than your apportioned freeze-dried carrot stick and meat packet. Welcome to the future of weight loss.
Image via AP, Julie Jacobson