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Those suffering from Allergies to benefit from meal testing device using a mobile phone
(28-12-2012)
 
Those suffering from Allergies to benefit from meal testing device using a mobile phone
 

Are you scared of eating something which you later find out you are allergic to and suffer the consequences thereon. Now you can check what are you allergic to by using your Smartphone.
A team of researchers from the University of California Los Angeles(UCLA) has developed a lightweight device termed iTube, which get attached to a mobile phone to detect allergens in food samples .Around 8 per cent of young and 2 per cent of adults are influenced by food allergies, making it a public concern. iTube was developed to address this issues, states leader of the research team.
The iTube attachment uses built-in camera of mobile phone, followed with a smartphone application that runs an allergen test as accurately as if done in a laboratory.
To perform test for allergens, food samples are initially grounded and mixed in a test tube with hot water called an extraction solvent. This mixture is allowed to set for several minutes. Then, the prepared sample is mixed with some reactive testing liquid and it takes roughly 20 minutes for preparing the same. Once the sample is ready, the iTube attachment is mechanically installed on the existing camera of a phone, where the test and control tubes are inserted from the side and are vertically illuminated by two separate LED. The illumination light is absorbed by the allergen concentration known as colorimetric assay causing an intensity change in the acquired image by the phone camera. The kit converts raw images from the cellphone camera into concentration measurements detected in the food samples. Not only does it diagnosed results as “positive” or “negative” but the test can also determine how much of an allergin is present in a sample, in parts per million.

The iTube can test various types of allergens like peanuts, almonds, eggs, gluten and hazelnuts, Ozcan said. The UCLA team successfully tested the iTube by analyzing the sample of commercially available cookies. Their research was recently published in the journal Lab on a Chip.
This cost-effective personalized food allergen testing device running on mobile phone can also permit uploading of test results to iTube servers to create personal or public maps, which could provide additional resource for allergic individuals.