Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Unveiled at CES2018 – Portable peanut sensor

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In 2016, 6SensorLabs launched the first portable gluten sensor, called the Nima Sensor, designed for people with Celiac disease (Herrmann, 2016). This small, portable, triangular, chemistry-based gluten-detection device makes it possible to analyze any food for the presence of as little as 20 parts per million of gluten, in a tiny fraction of the time it takes for a laboratory to perform the same sorts of analyses.

In the early 2014 disclosure of this invention, the scope of the chemistry-based processes of analysis was explicitly extended well beyond the detection of gluten to other potentially harmful substances. So, it comes as no surprise that the company is launching a second allergen sensor.

Unveiled at CES 2018, the second product offered by 6sensorlabs, now called Nima Labs, is a portable peanut sensor for people with peanut allergies. (The company is taking pre-orders on the device due to launch in 52 days.)

The Nima Peanut detector looks just like its older gluten-detecting sibling. Use of the sensor proceeds through the same friendly 3-step process for analyzing and detecting the harmful substance in food. The user inserts a bit of the food inside a reactive capsule, inserts the capsule into the device, and in less than 2 minutes, receives a happy or a sad face result, depending on the detection, or not, of peanuts in the sample.(See the schematic patent drawing inserted below).  

According to the inventors, the device thus makes it possible for allergic individuals:
 “to dine out more often, say yes to catered events, double-check a packaged food, and travel far and wide.”

Three recently filed US utility patent applications, each with their 12 family members, filed at WIPO, the EPO, and at other national patent offices, are on file as continuation-in-part of the applications filed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 :
  • US2017124690 (A1) ― 2017-05-04 - System and method for detecting target substances
  • US2017097342 (A1) ― 2017-04-06 - System and method for detecting target substances
  • US2017003285 (A1) ― 2017-01-05 - System and method for detection of target substances 
The abstract for US2017003285 is included below, together with a schematic drawing of an embodiment of the system for detecting a harmful substance. An image of the new sensor is included above.
A system and method includes a test container for detecting a target substance in a consumable sample, where the test container includes a test container body defining a test container top. a test container bottom opposing the test container top, a first chamber proximal the test container top, and a second chamber proximal the test container bottom, a magnetic diaphragm situated between the first chamber and the second chamber, the magnetic diaphragm obstructing flow of the consumable sample, and the magnetic diaphragm including a magnetic element embedded in the magnetic diaphragm, and a driving element geometrically complementary to the first chamber, the driving element including a consumable sample grinding feature protruding from a surface of the driving element. [Abstract US2017003285]

Nima Labs has also launched a Nimoji app with almost 50 emoji that describe dietary needs such as vegan, lactose-intolerant, PeaNOT, vegetarian etc.

Herrmann, F. (2016) Oh, patents! Portable gluten sensor. Posted on Feb. 22, 2016, at Patents on the Soles of Your Shoes

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