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Smartphone App Detects Gluten in Food?!

emb.-stomach-ache1Have you heard of the amazing new device called the TellSpec?  It does seem like something more suited to a Sci-Fi novel, but this is the real deal! It all started when serial entrepreneur Isabel Hoffmann’s 14-year-old daughter fell seriously ill after a move from Europe to the U.S.  Her symptoms got so bad that she eventually had to drop out of school, and no doctor seemed to be able to pinpoint a cause.

Finally, after years of tests and dozens of doctors, it was finally suggested that she may have Aspergillus Penicillium, a disorder that causes severe allergic reactions to gluten, dioxins and other allergens.  “[The diagnosis] was dead right,” said Hoffmann. “We went back home and tested the house and learned we had high doses of Aspergillus and Penicillium mold in the bedroom.”

“That’s when I thought, “Oh my God, how many people go through life suffering so much? And almost giving up — with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia — and resigning themselves to what they have, without a hope to be better?” Hoffmann said. So she decided to do something that would allow everyone with food sensitivities a better quality of life. She wanted to create a pocket-sized tool that would allow her daughter and other people with similar conditions to better understand how their environments and the foods they consume affect them physically.

tellspec_truffleAnd thus was born the TellSpec, a spectrometer that can identify the ingredients of any foodstuff you point it at and beam that information to your smartphone via an accompanying app. For people who already know which food sensitivities they have, the TellSpec will help to avoid uncertainty when dining on a meal with questionable ingredients. It can even be used to help identify unknown intolerances!

“If you report to us that every time you have some milk product, you have digestive problems, we’ll probably tell you, ‘It looks like you may be lactose intolerant, please speak with your nutritionist or doctor to confirm this.'” Hoffmann said, “We’re not diagnosing, we are just guiding.”

TellSpec-colorsTellSpec was funded on Indiegogo, a funding platform for start-up businesses. The initial fundraising goal was $100,000, and by the end of the campaign, nearly $300,000 had been donated to fund research into the project.  The TellSpec spectrometer is expected to debut on the market around August 2014, with initial prices being around $350-$400 per unit.  Hoffmann hopes that demand will allow for a production on a greater scale in the future, driving the price down to a reasonable $50 per unit.

So, what do you think? Will you be in line on opening day for your very own TellSpec?

Read the full story here.
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