Robots have been given a lot recently. First science gave them their own Skynet-esque Internet, then South Korea renewed its pledge to give them their own theme park. In what can only be described as the latest infringement upon the human experience by robot kind, Spanish researchers have now invented a robot tongue that can distinguish different types of beer.
The new robo-tongue, is already nearly 82 percent accurate when identifying different brews. Based on the way we humans experience taste (as opposed to the way birds do, we suppose) the robo-tongue is made up of 21 ion-selective electrodes. These act as a sensor array, each determining the levels of particular elements present in each beer.
By supervising the robot tongue as it learned, researchers were able to coax their electronic sensory organ into learning the differences in the taste of different categories of beer. To date the robo-tongue can identify Schwarzbier, lager, double malt, Pilsen, Alsatian and low-alcohol beers by taste.
New beers and other drinks, like soda, have to be learned before the tongue can identify them correctly. There's no word yet concerning which beer the robot tongue likes best. We're assuming that'll come with practice. Beer is an acquired taste, after all.