According to a 2015 study by the CSIRO, as many as one in 10 Australians limit their daily intake of gluten, which roughly equals 1.8 million people. Short of being “that person” in a café asking for gluten-free ricotta pancakes, there’s currently no easy way to know if what you’re about to devour is truly as gluten-free as you’re told.
Enter Nima. It’s the world’s first pocket-sized gluten detector and it only takes three minutes to get an accurate reading – short enough to alert you before your food goes cold. The device allows you to place a piece of food inside a small chute, and will display a smiley face in the event your food has under 20ppm or less of gluten, then you’re good to go.
In saying that, though, the device, invented by MIT graduates Shireen Yates and Scott Sundvor, is pretty clever in that it’s able to test everything from solids to liquids, all with the one-time-use capsules that deliver lab-style testing without messy changeovers.
Shireen herself is allergic to gluten, as well as soy, dairy and egg (which Nima does not test for) and invented it for people just like herself and Scott, who avoids gluten himself due to ulcerative colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine.
“I was tired of answering the same questions,” she says. “I just wanted a quick, easy way to test a piece of the dish and see for myself if it was gluten-free.”
The device was developed after the pair’s idea, which came about in 2013, won an MIT US$100,000 Accelerate competition, allowing the young founders to produce prototypes and a final model.
If you’re already getting hassled for your aversion to gluten, don’t worry – Nima is small enough to (sort of) disguise in a pocket or handbag.