We’ve always been jealous of those beer experts that somehow get a dream job doing quality control for a beer company.
“What do you do at work?”
“Oh, I just taste beer all day and get paid for it.”
Somehow we missed that major in college. Actually, it looks like the luckiest people in the world may have to fight for their jobs soon because there’s a new type of quality control that can work nights, weekends, and 24/7 if need be. Obviously, we’re talking about robot tongues.
Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic “tongue” that can distinguish between different types of beer with 82 percent accuracy. We put “tongue” in quotations because it really looks nothing like a tongue; it’s a bunch of sensors and wires all stuck together. Not pretty, but hey, gets the job done. Super robo-tongue uses its sensors to identify the chemical components in a solution and then cross-checks what it finds with what it already knows about various beers.
This is all in the beginning stages right now, so you won’t see these robot tongues tasting across America yet. Manel del Valle, one of the study’s authors, told NPR that he thinks food and beverage manufacturers will eventually be able to use the technology for quality control. They’re definitely something that would probably be used in bigger, major breweries rather than craft breweries since big breweries can really benefit from that around-the-clock access to taste testing and quality control.
Del Valle says they’re tailoring the tongue for the beverage industry, but that with a few tweaks, it could probably be used for the pharmaceutical industry and drug manufacturers. However, before any of that happens, the tongue’s data processing tools need to be fine-tuned so they can taste with even greater accuracy.
Do you think big beer companies will benefit from the robot tongues in the long run? Or do you think eliminating human taste testers will have a negative effect on the product they are selling to the public?