Allergy detecting with a smartphone

A lot of people do have allergies for different varieties of food. Most of them know they are allergic, but some people don’t. Allergies can come up and grow, but they can also disappear after a while.


Allergy detecting is very hard because sometimes an allergy can threaten your life, that’s why researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed the iTube, a device that turns a smartphone into an allergen sensor. The iTube is attached to a smartphone and detects food allergens with laboratory-level sensitivity.

What it is

The device weighs around 40 grams and can find a number of allergens, such as peanuts, almonds, eggs, gluten and hazelnuts. The iTube can measure a sample’s allergen concentration in a second, however preparing the test sample takes 20 minutes and several steps. The iTube attaches to a smartphone and detects food allergens with the help of colorimetric analysis (chemically coloring the allergens in a solution and then measuring them by the concentration of the color). The test results are location and time stamped and the app uploads the data to iTube servers to set up a personalized allergy database for statistical analysis.


Why it’s Cool

Everybody is aware of the annoyance a food allergy can cause, in some cases it may even threaten to our life. This ‘gadget’ can improve your quality of life with just by using the iTube. This cell phone–based allergen testing platform could be of great use for parents, as well as schools, restaurants and other public places.


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