Hyper Taste, the artificial language imagined by IBM to identify liquids.

While until now, existing robots were not able to determine the flavor of foods and beverages.

The IBM Research team developed a robotic language that "tasted" different liquids and analyzed their composition.

In humans, the ability to appreciate a taste is the fruit of taste cells, with receptors and present on the tongue. An aptitude previously only shared with the animal genus, but which could well become common to robotic devices if one believes the progress made by the researchers of IBM.

In early July, the laboratories of the American giant computer have indeed presented Hyper Taste, an "e-tongue" that can analyze the composition of liquids. To arrive at this result, scientists have developed an artificial language with molecules capable of mimicking human receptors and emitting an electrical signal then interpreted by the robotics language.

"Fingerprints" and combinatorial analysis

The interpretation of the signal made by the artificial language constitutes a message, which can be described as "fingerprint" of the liquid.

Once established, the latter is sent to an application and downloadable on the smartphone. In total, the process takes less than a minute.


Technology that could benefit many sectors

During the presentation of the prototype, IBM Research researchers have shown that the e-tongue is already able to recognize and distinguish different types of water, an encouraging success. If the model improves and becomes operational on more complex fluids, many areas of activity could be turned around.

In the medical sector, for example, it could be used to analyze patients' urine almost instantaneously, thus avoiding the waiting time and costs incurred by a laboratory visit. The pharmaceutical industry could also benefit from the invention, which would eventually allow the analysis of liquids used in drug design.

In a lighter register, checking the authenticity of wine or judging the water quality of a lake or pool would be an easy undertaking and accessible to all. One of the strengths of the device: its relatively small shape, which makes it easily transportable and is "a real plus," according to Alexis Hounsou.

"Hyper Taste is quite representative of what we will be able to do in the coming years with artificial intelligence," he judges. Before concluding: "want to apprehend subjective notions, like the taste, through techniques pointed but not too cumbersome, it is entirely in the era of time. "