A new device called the iTube that plugs into a cell phone and tests a meal for common food allergens instantly has been developed by a team of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The iTube device uses the phone's built-in camera along with a specific smart phone application to test foods at the same level of sensitivity that a science laboratory would.
The testing procedure takes about 20 minutes. A sample of food is ground up, mixed with water and goes through a small extraction procedure to determine not only if a specific allergen is present, but what the concentration is, in parts per million.
Nearly eight percent of children and two percent of adults have food allergies. Some food allergies be quite severe. The video above covers some of the more common food allergies and the potential harm upon exposure. In extreme cases, exposure to a food allergen has been known to cause anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock can lead to death if not caught and treated immediately. Having the ability to test foods in advance with something like the iTube has the potential of saving lives.