Bio-inspired electronic tongue replaces sommelier?

Researchers in Spain have developed a bio-inspired electronic tongue that can distinguish between different wine cavas. From the July 28, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

In order to design the electronic tongue, researchers from the UAB [Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona] Group of Sensors and Biosensors, led by professor Manel del Valle, identified different cava samples using voltammetric measurements. Thanks to a combination of chemical measurement systems and advanced mathematical procedures – principal component analysis (PCA), discrete wavelet transform (DWT), and artificial neural network (ANN) – researchers achieved to copy the human taste system and distinguish between different types of cava, thus obtaining a classification similar to that of a sommelier. Through the use of the second order standard addition method (SOSAM) it was possible to quantify the amount of sugar added in the cava production process, demonstrating the efficiency of these processing tools.

The electronic tongue currently can identify three types of cava: Brut, Brut Nature and Medium-Dry. However, with proper training it will be able to identify all types available on the market.

The news item does not explain how the current system for wine production would be improved by introducing electronic tongues.

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