09. 08. 2006
Cute little robot sommoliers are invading
The AP is carrying a story on Japanese researchers who have presented a cute little robot that's trying to put me out of a job. The Winebot is able to identify many different types of wine, cheese, and hors d’oeuvres by interpreting the measurements from an infrared spectrometer; wines are analyzed beforehand and a catalog of wine signatures allows the cute little guy to suggest appropriate food pairings and flavor profile recommendations. The robot is just a toy, but the technology involved is going to change the way we look at wine.
The wine industry needs a surefire way to bust the big business of high dollar forgeries, and a wine database could be the solution. The best part is that the bottle doesn't have to be opened for the Winebot to identify the contents so a handheld device could be common equipment on buying trips and cellar tagging expeditions.
I'm hoping that the researchers will open their signature database to the rest of the world and allow those in the wine business, like myself, to add their wines to what could grow to be an all encompassing list. The suggestion of an open signature database is just a hint to the scientists involved since they're planning to offer the Winebot's infrared sensor as a seperate peripheral in the upcoming year.