Engineering student develops handheld gadget to detect dairy in food

Read Time:   |  30th June 2017

Brunel University London Product Design Engineering student Imogen Adams is currently developing “Ally,” a handheld gadget and accompanying app that will be able to test for the presence of allergens in foods served at restaurants.

Engineering student develops handheld gadget to detect dairy and meat in food

Credit: Brunel University

To use the Ally, diners must first dip a test strip in a food sample mixed with water and then insert it into an opening in the device. The Ally then determines whether the food sample contains traces of lactose (an enzyme found in milk) within 60 seconds, and reports its findings via a corresponding app—or can perform a simple positive/negative test and produce a vibration, should the user not want to use their phone during a meal.

Within the app you can log your results, share them within an online community, and leave reviews about how ‘allergy friendly’ local restaurants are, as it allows users to review which restaurants have the best cross-contamination practices.

The Ally currently only tests for lactose, but Adams plans to add a ”vegetarian check” function that would detect the presence of meat. “As a vegetarian travelling abroad last summer, I wanted a way of making sure the food I was eating was truly vegetarian,” Adams said.

“During research into a food analysis device, I decided to focus on allergies first, as they can be life threatening.” Adams debuted the device—in its prototype phase—at the innovation competition AXA PP Health Tech & You and was named runner-up. Once on the market, the Ally will retail for approximately $38.

Source: MedicalExpress, VegNews. 

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