One evening several years ago, she was at a wedding, but she forgot to bring anything. She was starving, so when a waitress came up to her with some delicious-looking risotto balls, Yates asked if they were gluten free “Well, how allergic are you?” the woman asked.
“And that question — maybe I was really hangry in the moment, but I was so tired of that question,” she said. Yates was worried that if she took a chance without knowing if the appetizer had gluten in it, the repercussions would be a week of feeling bad.
She turned to her friend John, a chemical engineer, who was standing next to her, and asked how hard it would be to test a sample of the food. She wanted that data.That was the spark for 6SensorLabs,the startup Yates co-founded to build products that tell people what’s in their food. It’s designed for people with food allergies, dietary restrictions, or curiosity about what makes up food.
Today Shireen Yates is the cofounder of a compnay which develops products and networks to enable people with food allergies to trust their food. Their first product is Nima, a portable gluten sensor, now available for pre-order at www.nimasensor.com.