Scientists from NEC's System Technologies and Mie University claim they have created a wine-tasting robot. Sommeliers and wine writers need not worry -- at least yet. The concept behind the robot taster is to detect fraud through some basic analysis so that industry and government officials can check that the wine in the bottle is the same as what's listed on the label.
The device uses a microcomputer and light emitting diodes that fire infrared light at the five milliliter sample and the reflected light is sensed by an array of photodiodes. The scientists claim the wavelengths of infrared light absorbed by the sample create a report correctly identify the unique organic components of a particular wine within 30 seconds. Since the combinations of these components are unique to certain winemaking regions, the robot can even tell where the wine was made. Fraud on the world wine market with higher priced labels has always been a suspected problem.
NEC officials say the machine currently works for 30 different types of wine and work has started to extending the wines the device can recognize before it is commercialized.