With all the negative, and often not very scientific, talk swirling around the topic of gluten, it’s easy to be skeptical of those who say they need to keep a gluten-free diet. But the fact is, aside from the 1 percent of the population diagnosed with celiac disease, there are others who suffer from a non-celiac sensitivity to gluten, which is a real thing — in fact, scientists may have hit on the protein molecule present in the gut that causes it. For those who have that sensitivity, eating can be a risk; it’s not enough to avoid the obvious culprits, like bread or pasta, as gluten shows up in many unexpected ingredients like soy sauce. Enter the Nima, a friendly-looking device that Time has already listed as one of it’s 25 Best Inventions of 2015:
“For the millions of Americans with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating out is often anxiety-ridden—any menu item might contain traces of the protein, which is off-limits. The Nima sensor, which starts shipping early next year, would work to put their minds at ease by allowing them to test any kind of food or drink in as little as two minutes. After a sample is dropped into the well of the device, a proprietary antibody (loaded in a disposable cartridge) mines it for traces of gluten. If they exist, a frowning face lights up; if not, a smile appears.”
6SensorLabs, the makers of the Nima, hopes to take anxiety out of the dining equation, allowing all eaters to focus on the joy of sharing a meal with others, hoping to eventually apply the technology to detecting other food allergens, better protecting those who are peanut/dairy/egg allergic or intolerant.