Robot tongue brings peace to Italy
That would be near the top of the list of headlines I never thought I’d write. Scientists in Italy have developed a mechanical system that can sense subtle variations in flavor. So subtle, in fact, that it can differentiate eighteen different kinds of canned tomato. This could eliminate the kind of ill feelings that arise from a subjective tasting process.
Sensing the smell and flavor of food is a very complex physiological and cognitive process. A food’s components and the taster’s experience at the moment of tasting influence the process. To be able to objectively measure the sensory descriptor, one needs human sensory tests not involving persons as taste testers. Examples of human sensory tests currently used are the electronic nose and the electronic tongue. Current instruments can only analyze certain food components and require a certain sample preparation.
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