HAPIfork of the Future

The HAPIforkWhat’s a HAPIfork? The $100 HAPIfork was announced at CES 2013 and received wide media coverage ranging from Tech Crunch to  Consumer Reports to ABC News and beyond.  The chunky techno-fork lets you keep track of how many bites you take and how fast you take them, encouraging you to slow down your pace of eating.  Why slow down? Andrew Carton, president of Hapi Labs tells us that “eating too fast and insufficient mastication has been tied to all sorts of problems, including acid reflux and weight gain” (PC Magazine).

Technology Laws and Forks.  The HAPIfork is at the vanguard of networked utensils 1.0.  As we enter the era of the Internet of Things, we can expect devices like the HAPIfork will evolve. But how? Five technology laws give us some clues:

  1. Moore’s Law – processing power will double every 18-24 months
  2. Gilder’s Law – communications power (bandwidth) doubles every 6-8 months
  3. Kryder’s Law – storage capacity doubles every 12 months
  4. Metcalf’s Law – the value of a communications network is proportional to the square of connected users
  5. Meeker’s Law – the number of devices increases 10x with each decade-long technology cycle

I recently asked my class of MBA students at the University of California, Riverside to predict what the HAPIfork might look like ten years from now, in 2023, based upon these 5 technology laws.  Here’s some of their ideas of how each of the 5 technology laws might impact the HAPIfork.

Moore’s Law (processing power).  With a 32x more powerful processor coupled with smart sensors, HAPIforks will track many more variables (calories, weight of food, identify food groups, food temperature, etc.).  Fingerprint scanners so you can log into your fork – or log into the fork at your favorite restaurant.  The ironically chubby HAPIfork itself loses weight and is no longer chunky but svelte and sophisticated.

Gilder’s Law (bandwidth).  With over 30,000x the bandwidth, communication will be immediate.  The fork might capture real time holographic images of the food you are eating and upload them to a cloud-based health analysis system that advises you.

Kryder’s Law (storage).  With over 1000x the storage, the HAPIfork can remember everything you’ve eaten this year, your eating speed, dining frequency, etc. Onboard fork storage of video and audio files motivate you as you dine.

Metcalf’s Law (network value).  As the user base grows, people will increasing share what they are eating, and how they are eating it, with others.  People in obesity support groups will have online companions as they dine.

Meeker’s Law (number of devices).  The HAPIfork will also connect with smart spoons, knives, chopsticks, plates, bowls, tables and more – all of these smart dining items will talk and respond to each other.  Eating so slowly your food is getting cold?  No problem, your plate will heat up! HAPItoothbrush makes sure your kids brush their teeth, especially when the HAPIfork tells the HAPIbrush that a gooey chocolate dessert was just consumed. The HAPIsensor, a tiny device that sticks onto any tool – a saw, hammer, screwdriver – gives feedback on just the right amount of effort you need to get the job done. HAPIweights track your workout.

About Tom Novak

Tom Novak is the Denit Trust Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

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