Nima Food Allergy Sensor | The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation
28
August

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


– School lunches with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were
a big part of my childhood. I don’t eat them much anymore because the ocean invented sushi. But for some kids and
adults with allergies, peanuts and peanut butter can be incredibly harmful, even deadly. Now science is becoming
an allergy protector with the invention of a peanut detector. At first glance, this
triangular-shaped innovation may not appear to be
potentially lifesaving, but when you discover what it does you realize its importance. Each year peanut allergies send thousands of people to the emergency room and can be fatal. Nima is a device that detects proteins like peanuts or gluten in your food. And it was co-invented by Shireen Yates, who got the idea while at a wedding. She spoke to me from San Francisco. Hello there, Shireen, and
welcome to Innovation Nation. – Hi, Mo. – How did your idea for a food allergy sensor come about? – I found out in college
I couldn’t eat a number of different foods. I had a lot of food sensitives and dietary restrictions. I found it really hard to
eat out and stay social, and that’s really what
inspired the idea of Nima. – Shireen’s first order of business was to put together a team,
then collect research from people with food allergies. The team, comprised of mechanical, chemical and software engineers, took about three-and-a-half years to debut the final product. Okay, explain how to use it. – So as a user you take a sample of whatever’s in front of you, whether it’s a dinner plate or a snack, you take a pea-size amount of that food and then you put it in
a one-time-use capsule, you close the lid of that capsule and then you put that capsule in the triangular-shaped sensor and then in a few minutes you get a binary yes or no whether that sample contained the protein that you’re looking for. – If you’re checking for gluten or peanuts, for example, the sensor takes the sample
and extracts the protein, then reads the chemical reaction. At that point, you’ll
know if there’s a protein you don’t want to eat in your food. – Nima’s mission is to equip everyone with dietary restrictions,
food sensitivities, food allergies with the
data points they need to make informed decisions
about what they’re about to eat. – Shireen’s motto is let her food allergy detector take the first bite so that you don’t have to. Well, I appreciate you
being on our show, Shireen. Thank you. – Mo, thank you so much, it was an honor.


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