2006-10-04

R2-D2's Wino Friend

Here we see a little robot developed by the Japanese to taste wine. The part that surprised me wasn't the use of a spectrometer to determine the type of wine, brand, and vintage, but the idea that the analysis results in a description of the taste. Presumably this is just regurgitating expert opinion on the matter . . . i.e. if it thinks the wine is a Chateau Picard 2342 then it will describe the crispness of the finish based on statements of human opinions of the brand . . . but it's still interesting all the same.

One of the strengths (and probably one of the weaknesses) of user-friendly Starfleet tech in the shows seems to be that they aren't just provided with data by sensors and tricorders, but that they're often provided with interpretation of the data across all manner of fields. The level of developmental work involved to get that right must've been enormous. After all, if I wizz in a half-full wine bottle and pour it in this robot's gullet, what would it claim? An acrid chardonnay? Cabernet Pissignon?

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