Test for Gluten-Free With This Pocket-sized Device

Having food allergies can make going to a restaurant a harrowing experience — you can ask to make sure, but there’s always that lingering doubt that traces of nuts or shellfish will sneak in and set off a reaction. A new device called Nima is stepping in to try to ease your worries by giving you a portable testing kit that can detect allergens in two minutes.

Nima is a pocket-sized device that uses small, single-use test tubes (non-recyclable, unfortunately) and a chemical test to check for the presence of allergens. Just put a small sample of food in the tube, and the device will light up with a smile after a couple minutes if your meal is safe to eat. If you don’t get that smile, you’ll have probably saved yourself a trip to the hospital or worse. Currently, Nima can only detect gluten for sufferers of celiac disease, but the team is working on tests for nuts, soy, shellfish, wheat, tree nuts, eggs, and milk.

This device is looking to be more than just a one-off testing machine, though. Nima hopes to become a sort of Yelp for allergy sufferers — once tests have been completed, you’ll have the option to specify which restaurant you ate at and what you ordered, which over time should create a handy resource to help you look for food-safe restaurants ahead of time. This will all be done over an iOS app — no mention of an Android version yet.


Nima is still in development, but the development team, 6SensorLabs, is saying that preorders should start sometime this fall. They aren’t sure how much Nima will cost yet, but you can get on a waitlist to get updates and a crack at preordering as soon as possible.