Have you heard of the digital fork?
Jacques Lépine, the man who wants us all to be "eating slowly" is the founder of ‘Slow
Control’. He created a concept, a product, and a company, in order to help us manage the speed with which we eat. And many people are listening to him at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where his fork is debuting at the HapiLabs stand. My
company Basil Strategies is accompanying this French start-up, that we believe is making its mark on the Quantified Self movement.
DS How would you describe your invention?
JL Well, as an engineer, I can say that this is a unique fork containing some lightweight
Jacques Lépine, CEO of Slow Control
embedded electronics that
enables consumers to personalize their rate of food intake. If the user exceeds his desired speed, the fork will either vibrate or light up to let him know. The choice of the signal is up to the user. In addition, the fork will record meal times and the frequency of the forkfuls. The results will be visualized in graphs.
DS And the "Eating slowly" concept, what can you tell us about it?
JL "Eating slowly" is an international concept. People often think of overweight as the main problem of eating too fast. But research
studies show that eating too fast can cause other medical issues. Eating too leads to gastric reflux, bloating, metabolic disorders such as diabetes...
DS How did you come up with the digital fork?
JL I am an engineer specialized in writing patents for inventions.
One day, I found myself in the emergency room of a Parisian hospital convinced
that I was having a heart attack. I was wrong. I had acid reflux, because I was
eating too fast. Everyone around me had told me to slow down, and I tried but I never really succeeded in eating slower. So, I thought that there could be a technological solution, and there was. But, it was a bit more complicated than I had imagined.
DS How did you succeed?
JL It was not that easy, because the fork ultimately required 4 patents. From the beginning I
thought that movement sensors could help us, but actually they cannot detect "when"
the fork brings the food specifically to one's mouth. I had to realize that there could be a way to create an
electronic circuit thanks to the user’s body plus the fork. From there, getting the fork to plot the points of the
movement on a graph became feasible.
DS What are your plans for this product?
JL Well, the Slow Control Fork is a French
invention and is already recognized by OSEO and Cap'Tronic, who awards
prizes for electronic innovations. We competed this year. We now have, thanks
to the intervention of your company Basil Strategies and the Melcion Company, a
first partner, Hapilabs developed from their experience in nutritional coaching and web services. HapiLabs brings its distribution, a web and mobile platform and coaching. And so we are participating in the CES with HapiLabs, as an innovative company.
On our website, we will share the
scientific knowledge that underpins our current and future products.
digital forks will be available for consumers as of March 2013. Let the adventure begin…And of course, please tell everyone that SlowControl also comes with a spoon ;-).