Robot with a taste for beer
Food / Physics
January 30th, 2014
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Sourced by Plataforma SINC
Researchers have managed to distinguish between different varieties of beer using an electronic tongue. The discovery is accurate in almost 82% of cases. The concept of the electronic tongue consists in using a generic array of sensors, in other words with generic response to the various chemical compounds involved, which generate a varied spectrum of information with advanced tools for processing, pattern recognition and even artificial neural networks.
The array of sensors was formed of 21 ion-selective electrodes, including some with response to cations (ammonium, sodium), others with response to anions (nitrate, chloride, etc.), as well as electrodes with generic (unspecified) response to the varieties considered. Using more powerful tools and linear discriminant analysis did enable to distinguish between the main categories of beer studied. Furthermore, it is worth noting that varieties of beers that the tongue is not trained to recognize, such as beer/soft drink mixes or foreign makes, were not identified (discrepant samples), validates the system as it does not recognize brands for which it was not trained.
This application could be considered a sensor by software, as the ethanol present does not respond directly to the sensors used, which only respond to the ions present in the solution. It could one day give robots a sense of taste, and even supplant panels of tasters in the food industry to improve the quality and reliability of products for consumption.