Smartphone App That Detects Allergens in Food

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Life with a food allergy is no fun — you have to be careful about what you eat, lest you put something in your mouth that might seriously disagree with your body and send you on a very frightening trip to the hospital, or worse. A life with allergies doesn’t have to be the worst thing in the world, but it can certainly be something of an inconvenience. It can help, when you’re dealing with something like allergies, to be able to know for sure, without any kind of doubt, whether or not the food that you’re eating is going to be completely safe for you. We don’t always have the peace of mind that comes with preparing our own food, and depending on the severity of your allergy, you might need to make sure that you avoid ingesting even trace amounts of certain dangerous foods.

Of course, when this is the case, it can get to the point where you’d love a bit of a break just about anywhere one might present itself, and a new smartphone invention based out of Los Angeles, California might very well be exactly the type of break you were looking for. An engineering professor named Aydogan Ozcan, who doubles as an inventor when he’s not lecturing at the prestigious UCLA, has created something that he calls the iTube, and which might very well prove to be an invaluable tool for those of us who deal with food allergies.

Smartphones and tablets have made it possible for us to do a pretty huge amount of things that were either difficult or impossible to do before, and Ozcan’s newest invention will bring a whole new capability to the modern mobile device, the likes of which have absolutely never been seen before. With the help of an attachment and special applications, Ozcan’s iTube will allow its users to test food for allergens on the spot. You’ll need to grind up your food and place it in a special phone attachment where it’s combined with a chemical mix. Your phone’s camera will analyze all of this and then let you know as to whether or not you’re dealing with any allergens in a span of about 20 minutes. This is just one of the ways that inventors hope to modify smartphones and give them incredibly practical uses.

This invention is just a prototype at this point, but will hopefully give tablet and smartphone users another reason to rejoice, especially if they’re allergic to any foods. Whether you’re eating takeaway food for delivery in Dublin or Chinese food in Belfast, it helps to know that you’re not eating anything to which you’re allergic. With the iTube (and 20 minutes’ worth of patience, of course), you’ll have an easy time figuring out exactly what it is you’re about to eat, and can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re not eating that your body is going to seriously disagree with.

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