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Improving daily lives and worldwide travels

For people with serious food allergies, eating out in restaurants can be a stressful experience – especially when travelling. How can they be sure that the food in front of them is safe for them to eat? TMC Employeneurs love opportunities for creative problem-solving like this, and a team of them has come together to create an innovative solution.

Wouldn’t it be useful, they wondered, if we could develop a portable testkit for food? A product small enough to fit in a handbag, or even your pocket. That can be taken along to restaurants and used to test food for allergens. That could tell you in a moment whether the food you’re about to eat is safe? 

From idea to realization

The team of Employeneurs began talking to other people about their idea, and they received unanimously enthusiastic reactions. So they have decided to take the first steps towards making their portable testkit a reality: researching the market and pitching the idea to TMC’s board. The board members will then determine if the idea can be put into practice, and how TMC might be able to provide the required time and resources.

At this stage, everything is moving very quickly, says Bram Pape, TMC Employeneur and Material Interaction Designer at Océ: ‘It’s only been a few weeks since we started working on the idea. With a small group of three, we are trying to start-up this project and get some funding. We realize it will probably turn into an interdisciplinary project. Several Employeneurs from other cells are excited about the testkit, and have offered to share their time, energy and knowledge: people from Mechatronics, Nanotechnology and Industrial Automation, for example. It’s the kind of project that most people immediately see the benefits of.’

Alongside Bram Pape, another driving force behind the project is Evelyn Blocken, TMC Employeneur and Formulation Specialist at Océ - where she works one floor below Bram. ‘One of the things I find so great about the project, is that it has the potential to contribute something positive and hugely useful to society - to actually make a difference for a huge group of people in their daily lives. To realize this potential, we have to develop a testkit that is accessible, affordable, dependable, quick, and portable. It’s not going to be easy!’ Evelyn laughs. ‘There’s a lot of problem-solving to be done.’

'Just imagine, a portable, affordable device that you can bring along with you on travels all over the world.'

Right now, the team’s priority is putting together a convincing pitch for the testkit. ‘We’re not just aiming to get TMC’s board behind our idea,’ Evelyn says, ‘we also submitted a one-page sketch to The Golden Lightbulb Challenge. It’s open to entrepreneurs from the Eindhoven area – a jury of skilled professional business developers assesses the possibilities of all kinds of technological ideas like this.’

Whatever the outcome, one thing’s for sure: the next few weeks are going to be decisive as well as very exciting for the team. Hearing Bram and Evelyn speak, it’s hard not to share their enthusiasm for the food testkit. ‘Just imagine,’ Bram says, ‘a portable, affordable device that you can bring along with you on travels all over the world, to make sure you can safely order any type of local food wherever you go. Wouldn’t that make traveling for people with food allergies so much easier and so much more exciting at the same time? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?’

Update 21-01-2019:
In the meantime this project has officially been approved and started as a TEL project! The official project name is: Allergique. 

For more information about TEL and other running projects have a look at:

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