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Have a peanut allergy? The Nima handheld device wants to help you

Nima, the company that created a Bluetooth-connected gluten detector, has made a version of its device that tells you if there are traces of peanuts in your food.

The Nima Peanut Sensor will cost $289 (£213/AU$367). The company will begin to ship units later this years to customers who preorder it.

The company that created a handheld gluten detector has created a version for folks with peanut allergies. Nima will begin preorders for its peanut sensor and ship it to customers later this year, the company announced at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. 

Nima's peanut sensor is designed for peanut allergy sufferers to test their food if they are unsure if the allergen is present. It's nearly identical to the company's gluten sensor: Both are palm-size devices that with a small display, a power button and an opening for a testing capsule. 

Testing for traces of peanut sounds easy: You put a pea-size sample of food into a testing capsule and screw on the cap, insert the capsule into the detector and press the power button to begin the test. If a peanut icon pops up on the display, that means the Nima detected peanut in the sample. The display will show a smile if the food sample has less than 20 parts per million of peanut. 

The Bluetooth-enabled device also connects to an Android or iOS app where you can share your results, rate restaurants and packaged goods, and search for food options.

Like the gluten sensor before it, the peanut sensor would be an expensive addition to the tools peanut allergy sufferers already use. Prices for a starter kit, which includes the sensor and a 12-pack of test capsules, will be $289 (£213/AU$367); there's $60/£44/AU$76 discount if you order by March 8. The capsules that you need to test your food cost $72/£53/AU$92 for a 12-pack, and you can only use them once. There is a $20/£15/AU$25 discount on those packs if you select auto-delivery or join Nima's membership program, but even that program is $10/£7/AU$13 a month.

There are also concerns about the accuracy of a handheld allergen detector. Some food scientists and users of the gluten sensor questioned how accurate a device can be when you're testing food outside of a lab.

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