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Scientists Invent Robot Tongue That Can Identify Different Beers

The tongue could be used by the beer industry to maintain quality control.


Scientists have created a robot tongue that can identify various types of beer. According to Inside Science, María Luz Rodríguez-Méndez — a chemistry professor at University of Valladolid in Spain — and her colleagues created the electronic tongue which can accurately distinguish between "four styles of lager beer 100 percent of the time." The tongue — which is about the size of two cigarette packs — uses screen-printed sensors to "taste" electrochemical compounds like polyphenols in the beer to identify the drink. Rodríguez-Méndez hopes that the robot tongue will help "improve quality control in the food industry."

The robot could potentially be used to help drink makers maintain consistency. Inside Science writes that large distributors like Anheuser-Busch want to make sure that every bottle of a brand of beer tastes exactly the same before it is sold in stores. Currently, the companies employ human experts to test beer before it leaves the factory. However, it's not feasible for the experts to be available around the clock. While brewmasters are sleeping, the robot tongue "could share a supporting role by continuing to check the beer."

Not only are there robots that can taste beer, but there are also bots that can act as bartenders. In 2013, a group of computer scientists at Cornell created a robot that can not only guess when someone needs a refill but can pour the drink as well.