Plus: Smart Fork Provides Eating Advice, Water-Powered Electronics, and Reevaluating the American Work Ethic.
Smart Fork Aims to Improve Eating Habits
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas recently featured a healthy high-tech solution for food lovers: a smart fork that monitors your eating habits.
The HAPIfork is an electronic utensil that monitors the speed at which a user eats meals. If the user is shoveling dinner in too quickly, the HAPILABS utensil vibrates and lights up to let them know they might be on a one-way ticket to gastric reflux. The HAPIfork also comes with a spoon attachment, so eaters can enjoy cereal at slower speeds as well.
Originally designed for clinical tests to encourage moderate eating speeds to prevent weight gain and indigestion, the HAPIfork will ship with a dashboard app that tracks its user’s habits. The tool is also optimized for social communication, so users can share their eating progress with a support group.
The HAPIfork will ship in the second quarter of 2013 at a retail price of $99.99, with updates for Bluetooth-enabled utensils planned for Q3. Watch the video below to see the smart fork in action:
The Worst and Weirdest Interview Blunders
With the job market making slow but steady gains in recent months, about a quarter of all workers are planning to seek new positions in 2013 or 2014. For these job seekers, mastering the art of the interview will be a crucial tool in landing a position. At the very least, they’ll have to avoid making the types of blunders that can sink anyone’s chance at getting hired.
A recent survey from CareerBuilder highlights some of the most egregious, funny, and downright bizarre mistakes that job candidates have made during interviews over the past year, including:
- Candidate said he had to quit a banking position because he was always tempted to steal.
- Candidate denied that he had a cell phone with him even though it could be heard ringing in the briefcase beside him.
- Candidate emptied the employer’s candy dish into her pocket.
- Candidate said he didn’t like getting up early and didn’t like to read.
- Candidate asked to be paid “under the table.”
- Candidate reached over and placed a hand on the interviewer’s knee.
- Candidate commented that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.
- Candidate hugged the president of the company.
- Candidate called his wife to see what they were having for dinner.
- Candidate asked to postpone the start date so she could still get holiday gifts from vendors at her current job.
- Candidate called in sick to her current employer during the interview, faking an illness.
- Candidate said he didn’t want the job if he had to work a lot.
- Candidate wouldn’t answer a question because he thought they would steal his idea and not hire him.
Naturally, every candidate should try to avoid making these kinds of blunders, yet even smaller mistakes can end up costing someone a job. That means it’s critical for job seekers to rigorously rehearse their interview tactics before showing up.
“A job interview can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences out there, so it’s important to plan and practice,” Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s vice president of human resources, explained. “Have a friend run through a mock interview with you, asking questions you think will come up and some curve balls you’re not expecting. Thoroughly research the company ahead of time and draft responses that incorporate your accomplishments. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to run into mishaps.”
Water-Powered Electronics and Artificial Muscles
A new material that converts water vapor into energy could one day power artificial robotic muscles or generate enough electricity to power small electronics. A team of engineers from MIT found that the material requires only a small amount of water vapor to generate a large amount of energy, enough to lift a load of silver wires 10 times its own weight.
The research team has proven that the material, made from two interlocking organic polymers, could lead to changes in medical research. Up close, it looks like a series of contracting black sheets.
The breakthrough involves two polymers that are designed to expand when exposed to moisture and contract when they release water. The researchers coated these “artificial muscles” with nine-micron-wide layers of polyvinylidene difluoride, a piezoelectric material. This converts constant mechanical stress into electrical energy. The polymer sheets produce electricity peaking at approximately 1 volt, according to Txchnologist.
The main advantage is that it’s able to harvest energy from the environment without an external power source, unlike a sensor powered by a battery, which requires replacement, Mingming Ma, author of the findings, explained in Science.
Outside the medical field, potential applications could include water-vapor power generators or wearable small generators to power electronics.
Check out the remarkable material here:
Do Americans Really Care about Work?
We often view ourselves as members of a workaholic culture, especially when compared to countries that have a more relaxed attitude to the daily grind. But is the American work ethic really that pervasive?
A recent study from Salary.com that examined American attitudes toward work found that a surprising number of people focus most of their energy on their personal, rather than professional, lives. The following infographic sheds light on the trend:
Have a great weekend, folks.