How Will You Feel The First Time Someone Shows Up To Dinner With This Gluten Sensor?

Gluten-free people, you know what’s up. How many times have you trusted someone telling you, “Yeah! This bread is totally okay for you to eat,” only to find yourself feeling horrible later on?

Hopefully, that situation won’t occur much longer; you can thank 6SensorLabs for creating your technological belly saver. Its name is Nima. It’s cute. It’s pocket-sized. And it can tell you, in two minutes flat, how much gluten the casserole Aunt Linda brought to Christmas dinner contains.

How does it work? According to the website: “Nima uses antigen-based chemistry in a proprietary chemical-mechanical process to detect the presence of gluten in samples of food at a level of at least 20ppm.”


Basically, what happens is that you feed a small sample of the food in question to Nima, which then “extracts the protein, binds it with an antibody, and reads the concentration through the sensor.” If the amount of gluten in the sample reads below the FDA standard for gluten-free, Nima gives you a smiley-face and you’re good to go. (And if not? Yep, there’s a frowny-face.)

“Really, the whole inspiration is around helping people enjoy mealtime and being able to be social and celebrate eating without being super stressed-out,” co-creator Shireen Yates told Upworthy. She and Scott Sundvor, a fellow classmate at MIT (and fellow food allergy sufferer), teamed up to found 6SensorLabs, with the worthy goal of creating an allergy-testing tool for the masses. They soon recruited MIT PhD candidate Jingqing Zhang to be their lead scientist, and the rest was history.

Or, well, it’s set to become history. Nima isn’t actually available to the masses just yet, but the technology is all there, and as of October, it’s available for pre-order online (costing $200 for the device and three single-use sensors), with an expected launch date of mid-2016. Nima will also sync to an iPhone app, recording where you tested a food and passing that information along to other sensitive-bellied users.

What about other allergies/sensitivities? They’re in development. 6SensorLabs hopes to debut sensors for users with peanut and dairy allergies by 2017.