Those of us who suffer food allergies or intolerances and have diet-related requirements know all too well the annoyance it can be when you ponder what is in something that you're about to eat. Is it safe, is it dangerous? Though British regulatory law has led to restaurants needing to disclose whether something is vegan-friendly etc, is there even more that the end-user - you, I and we - can do to mitigate risks?
Univesity graduate Imogen Adams has designed a portable allergen tester that is designed to help us with just this. Small enough to be held in one hand, the small tester device - called Ally after allergen and friends - is clever enough to detect whether harmful ingredients are present. Currently at a stage where it can only detect lactose, the designer aspires to work with engineers and one day be able to detect nuts, wheat, seafood or meat. To use the device, simply make a small sample of the food and place it within the device's hold, adding a few drops of water to create a mixture.
Then dip a glucose test strip into the mixture and upon a short-while, enter the tester strip into the side of the device via it's gaplet. If lactose is present, the strip will change colour and the sensor will process the information to both vibrate the device and send information to a custom-built smartphone app. Simple, yet novel. Rivalling other food testers that cost upward of £250 and £4.50 per tester strip, Adams' design comes in at £18 and just £0.02 each strip. Discover more about the designer online at: Brunel.ac.uk.