Artificial taste sensors could be used to help Danish brewing giant Carlsberg to develop future products.
A new research project launched by the brewery in partnership with Aarhus Universities Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) aims to develop the sensors, which would be able to detect subtle taste nuances in the beverage.
A prototype sensor can already taste the difference between four types of beer.
The project has been awarded funding by Innovation Fund Denmark and has also received technical contributions from the Technical University of Denmark as well as Microsoft.
"It sounds like science fiction, but artificial intelligence can actually taste beer. We are collecting data on how beer tastes with chemical sensors. Based on that data, we can see whether a type of yeast has the potential to produce a beer that tastes good," said Peter Kyvsgaard, a solutions specialist with Microsoft.
The artificial intelligence is not designed to replace human taste buds, but rather to assist in the analysis of yeast types, Carlsberg Laboratory director and professor Jochen Forster said.
"There is no such thing as a fast and effective method for judging taste differences in beverages," Forster said.
"But its crucial that we are able to do this if the laboratory is to continue developing beer to its maximum potential," he continued.
The sensors developed by the project are not limited to tasting beer, Kyvsgaard said.
"They can be broadly applied to find taste profiles," the specialist explained.
"They could also possible be used to check, for example, whether water is clean. So there are many possibilities," he added.
Source: The Local