It may take a sophisticated palate to identify fine wines, but research from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Spain accomplishes this with a sensor. Well, somewhat.
Researchers from UAB’s Group of Sensors and Biosensors have developed an “electric tongue”, a device consisting of sensors and sophisticated algorithmic software to quantify the amount of sugar in Spanish cava wines and classify them into groups similar to their actual classification. So far, the electronic tongue is able to identify three of the seven classifications of cava, but with further training the researchers believe it will soon be able to identify them all.
Here’s a bit about how UAB’s electronic tongue (and the technology as a whole) works:
Electronic tongues are bio-inspired systems created with the aim of reproducing human perception senses. The device contains a sensor matrix to obtain chemical information from samples … Next, the perception of taste is based on the generation of sensory patterns of the nerves activated by the brain … achieved with the use of computerised systems which interpret data obtained by the sensor matrix. As in biological mechanisms, a learning and training process is needed so that the electronic tongue can be capable of recognising the properties that must be identified.
Article from The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: Electronic Tongue Identifies Cava Wines