Pity the poor robots, asked to do so much, offered so little in return. But that may be changing. Scientists at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have created a robotic tongue dedicated to tasting beer. It’s the kind of gig hard-working robots have been pining for—the dream job of a million Johnny Fives.
The robo-tongue could help us humans, too. According to one recent study, it can already distinguish between six kinds of beer with 82% accuracy. It uses 21 electrodes trained with supervised learning to detect the chemical traits of brews like pilsner and double malt. The robo-tongue could one day replace human taste testers in large breweries, helping improve the consistentency of the global beer supply. By varying the sensors, similar technology could also become a major weapon in the war against food and wine fraud.