Machines vs. Humans in Sensory Panels


Will taste panels soon be a thing of the past? Electronic tongues and noses are in
development with several different universities and companies across the world
(google electronic tongue for more information). Similar to human taste buds,
E-tongue has specific sensors that detect the chemical compounds responsible
for flavor, generates an electric impulse and with the help of software these
signals are translated into ‘a taste fingerprint’. Applications include
assessing sweeteners, wines and other liquidized products. The key benefit is
the consistency and repeatability of the results; where humans differ in their
sensitivity towards a taste perception.

 

However the machines can’t tell you which product it prefers. Currently useful application
for the machines is limited to assessing known specifications, preferably of
high volumes of similar products. Now why is it that some consumers prefer the
taste of Hunt’s ketchup while others swear by Heinz? Maybe we need those humans
for a little longer.