Cecilia Jiménez-Jorquera and her colleagues at the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics in Spain have come up with a handheld, electronic tasting device that may have some sommeliers crying, "zut alors!" That's because the device's six chemical sensors are accurate enough to measure acid, sugar and alcohol, as well as the various characteristics of a wine. Actually, far from scaring wine tasters, the tongue is very welcome: wineries currently have to send samples to labs for proper results, and the turn around is usually rather slow. Jiménez-Jorquera's unit is three things every buyer likes to hear: it's fast, portable and cheap.
It's not the first time researchers have taken an interest in electronic tongues — a team of Brits pursued much the same, aiming to apply the technology to help taste for spoiling food.