Every once in a while, we see a piece of technology that we know can change lives, and the FoodMarble Aire is one of them. Think of it like a breathalyser that determines your food intolerances, and it does so in a tiny, portable package that’s easy to use and based on the same technology used by doctors and hospitals. What’s more, it doesn’t cost thousands, and isn’t one of those annoying “coming soon” products either. It’s ready to go now.
Food intolerances can be horrific to live with, to the point of debilitating, yet identifying exactly what causes your problem is a time-consuming, difficult, and often imprecise endeavour. The FoodMarble Aire puts the solution in your pocket. It works by analyzing the hydrogen in your breath, which is caused by the fermentation process of food being broken down in the large intestine.
It’s here where the problems begin. This fermentation is responsible for bloating, pain, and gasses, none of which anyone wants. When it happens daily — often unexpectedly — it’s unpleasant to say the least. By tracking your digestion activity throughout the day, after you’ve eaten a meal, and receiving immediate results, you can tell which foods may be causing your problems.
Using the FoodMarble Aire
The FoodMarble Aire is a small, square device that contains the sensors and a battery, which you breathe into at one end. It links to the app on your phone using Bluetooth, and the battery lasts a few days before it needs a recharge, depending on use. It doesn’t require a forceful breath like a Police breathalyzer. You breathe in for three seconds, then breathe into the Aire for five seconds. That’s it — you can assess what your stomach is up to, and the results are instant. A nice touch is being able to remove and wash the mouthpiece on the main unit too.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
For more detailed results, the FoodMarble comes with special sachets of powder, which when mixed with water — and drank — imitate how the body deals with the major intolerance groups such as lactose, inulin, sorbitol, and fructose. These give a much clearer picture of where you digestion problems come from. Anyone with an intolerance already will likely have a good idea of what causes an issue, but nailing it down — as it may be more than one group — makes dietary selection in the future far easier.
It’s a mixture of lifestyle tracker and stomach activity tracker.
Beyond this, the FoodMarble Aire can be used to establish which foods cause problems when you’re eating out. For example, a dish from one establishment may be fine, but the same at another may not. Using the Aire will help find out which ingredient used in the second dish is the problem. Having a food intolerance and not really understanding the root cause means making uniformed choices, or simply running the risk and living with the consequences. The FoodMarble Aire can help remove this uncertainty.
Additionally, intolerances change over time, and what was once fine, suddenly becomes a problem. Having a device on hand that can track those changes takes away that sinking feeling that accompanies such times. The app we saw looked clean and well-designed, and also has sections for including sleep and stress data, which also affects digestion. It’s a mixture of lifestyle tracker and stomach activity tracker.
The FoodMarble Aire started out as a crowdfunded device, and the first units have started to ship now. Everyone else can go to FoodMarble’s website now to buy the device for $160, and it comes with a charging cable and a neat little carry case. You pay $30 for the four sachets to test individual food groups, which we think are an essential, at least for your first use.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
At the time of our test we had no stomach issues, surprising for CES time, but we’re sure to return to “normal” soon. We will be testing the FoodMarble Aire out over the coming weeks to see if it can change the way we live. That’s not hyperbole either. The team told us the story of one user, who had spent 10 years having tests and consultations to find out she had a lactose intolerance, which never really cleared up her problems. Three weeks in with the Aire, and she identified another intolerance, which combined with the lactose dietary adjustments, improved her quality of life considerably.
Three weeks, compared to 10 years? No, we weren’t exaggerating the impact this device could have on someone who suffers from any kind of food intolerance.