Engineers Create Electronic Nose for Winemaking

Staff Writer
And yes, everyone's pretty skeptical about it
WBG/ MNN

Could an electronic nose replace, well, your actual nose?

Move over, robot bartender, you're about to meet your match. Engineers in Sweden and Spain have created an electronic nose that they say could be more effective than the human nose — and could change the wine industry forever. 

Mother Nature Network reports on the "electronic nose," made with 32 sensors that can detect different kinds of fruit by their "odorous compounds," such as methane and buthane. Eventually, according to the enginners from Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and Sweden's University of Gävle, the computer (sadly, the nose doesn't actually look like a nose) will be able to detect different varietals and blended wines. Of course, some wine folks are skeptical about whether it's actually any good. Said Silver Oak Cellars' director of winemaking, Daniel Baron to TechDaily, "The human nose is amazingly sensitive... If you were to tell a trained sensory analyst (some of whom can detect 1,500 different types of molecules by smell) that a machine can differentiate between an apple and a pear, he would not be impressed."

Then again, no one would have thought a robot could start mixing drinks or that vineyards would use robots to pick grapes someday. Could a robot nose help winemakers in the future when smelling and tasting their newest vintages? Well, maybe when their noses are stuffed up.

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