Hypertaste; IBM’s AI-Powered Electronic Tongue

If you don’t believe that scientists can give computers a sense of taste, you better believe it now. American tech giant, IBM, has built an e-tongue that relies on AI to taste and analyze liquids’ chemical compositions. IBM’s team of professionals drawn from different fields collaborated and developed Hypertaste over the last few years.

Hypertaste is a small, circular, portable electronic device that can taste and identify the complex compounds of liquids. PH testers and molecular analysis tools exist and can do the work. But they are much more expensive and may take a while to produce results. Hypertaste is smaller, affordable to use and can produce results in just one minute.

Hypertaste uses an array of 16 conductive polymeric sensors that change their voltage when dipped in liquid. In this case, the polymeric sensors act like the taste buds on the human tongue. The sensors combine to produce voltage signals which are unique to every liquid. This now becomes the liquid’s chemical fingerprint. Hypertaste sends the data to a mobile device which relays it to a cloud server. The system employs machine learning algorithms to interpret the output of the sensors. It then returns the results within a short time.

The device may look small and simple but it took IBM a considerable time to produce it. Its success was due to a combined effort of an interdisciplinary team that consists of electrochemists, electrical engineers, software engineers, and material scientists.

How Industries and Services can Use Hypertaste

Hypertaste can quickly fingerprint complex liquids. This enables it to provide assistance to various industries and services like food & beverage, environmental, industrial supply chains, healthcare, pharmaceutical, etc. Since it is a fool-proof combinatorial sensing system, supply chain companies can use Hypertaste to verify the authenticity of food and drinks before they reach consumers.

According to IBM, Hypertaste could be used in the future in life sciences to sample urine and provide metabolic fingerprinting, which can be used to determine a person’s health.

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