Though it can’t taste the difference between PBR and Pliny the Elder, an electronic tongue developed at the Autonomous University of Barcelona was shown to be sensitive enough to differentiate between categories of beer. It’s another example of how scientists could someday give robots a sense of taste, which could help them test quality in a food factory or even whip up a meal in the home.
The researchers made the tongue, which is inspired by the human version, by bundling sensors that could detect different chemicals, including ammonium, sodium and chloride. The tongue doesn’t go all Bender and actually drink the beer; the sensors just need to be in physical contact with the liquid.
Based on the information the sensors gathered, the researchers were able to classify what data matched what type of beer. From there, the tongue was able to identify different varieties with 81.9 percent accuracy.
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