Wearables vs allergies: Can technology make a difference yet?

April 08, 2016
John Quinn

Allergies are on the rise all over the world. According to Allergy UK, an estimated 21 million adults are affected in the UK and as many as one in five people suffer from allergic rhinitis (also commonly known as hay fever).

The number of food allergy sufferers in Britain has doubled in the last decade alone, and a 2013 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that food allergies among children increased by around 50% between 1997 and 2011.

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A miracle allergy cure for every scenario is still elusive but the condition can be managed effectively. Luckily, several pioneering startups and university research projects are rising to these challenges.

A sophisticated food allergen detector masquerading as a stylish necklace, a nifty clip-on airborne allergen tracker, and a wearable that can sense a severe allergic reaction and deliver life saving treatment are three of the exciting innovations that could make a real difference to allergy prevention and treatment.

It won’t be infallible however. The strips can only test a representative sample, so there is always the chance that some allergens lurking on the plate of food may be missed. For this reason, Allergy Amulet is intended as an extra line of defence rather than the last word in allergen detection.

While the launch product will only test for peanut allergens (expanding to eight common allergens over time), co-founder Abigail Barnes has told us that her company will eventually be able to tailor Allergy Amulet to an individual’s unique allergy profile, with customised strips available that test anything from coriander to soy allergens.

Elsewhere, a venture-backed startup called DOTS Devices is developing an allergen-detecting wearable that rocks patent-pending technology, but the firm is currently in say-absolutely-nothing stealth mode.

To read the rest of this article, published in Wareable, please click here.