The gadget displays a smiley face if a food is gluten-free… ©6SensorLabs
A Californian tech firm has developed a new personal gadget that allows consumers to test their food for gluten in just two minutes.
The device, called Nima, is currently available to pre-order from San Francisco-based innovator 6SensorLabs. Handheld and small enough to fit inside a pocket or purse, it offers a discreet way for consumers with a gluten intolerance to ensure that their food is safe to eat.
The pioneering tech works by detecting gluten in quantities of at least 20 parts per million, or the maximum level permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for products labelled as “gluten-free”. Consumers simply place a sample of food into the disposable capsule and screw on the cap, before inserting the capsule into the device. By pressing the button, the testing will begin and the results displayed after approximately two minutes.
…and a sad face if it’s not. ©6SensorLabs
Nima is currently taking pre-orders through its website for distribution in mid-2016, ahead of general availability – although the gadgets don’t come cheaply. A Nima starter kit, which contains the reusable sensor and three disposable test capsules, costs $249; while a 12-count pack of test capsules will be available during pre-sale for $47.95.
The cost to gluten-intolerant consumers who are unsure about a food but proceed without adequate testing could be much greater, of course, as 6SensorLabs’ CEO and co-founder explained.
Shireen Yates said: “People who have food sensitivities, myself included, are always worrying if food is safe to eat, especially outside the home and in social settings. This anxiety often dominates their lives and restricts not only the foods they eat, but their activities as well. Nima alleviates the stress around unknown ingredients by providing more data about their food, delivers social freedom and makes mealtime enjoyable again.”
Scott Sundvor, 6SensorLabs’ CTO and co-founder, continued: “Food testing kits currently on the market are clunky and difficult to use, so very few consumers use them. Our technology takes a whole new approach to food testing, focusing on a streamlined user experience through a unique blend of chemistry, electrical and mechanical design – all while maintaining sensitivity.”
6SensorLabs has revealed plans to develop similar devices for peanut and dairy, and will launch a smartphone app for iPhone later in the year to allow consumers to share food test results with others.
“We field new requests from customers every day for additional food sensitivities and substances for which they’d like to test with Nima,” Yates added. “Our goal is to develop a test for each one.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017