Combatting Wine Fraud With Computers

HalWith the prices of wine futures soaring, and the large international market for rare bottles growing, fraudulent scammers and crooks are sure to take advantage of people by selling impostors and fakes. Traditionally, to combat fraudulent wine from being sold, professional tasters have been called in to make a determination on a bottle by tasting and comparing the wine for validity against his or her palate. Now, that process is closer to being automated by computer, as scientists from NEC’s System Technologies laboratory and Mie University, both in Japan, have developed a robot capable of comparing and identifying the unique characteristics that make up 30 different wines, with a larger field of recognition promised in the near future. Earlier in the year, students in Europe were essentially able to do the same thing, but the scientists were able to take it a step further by providing a comparison table for each bottle of wine analyzed.

Here’s how it works:

For analysis, a 5 millilitre sample of wine is poured into a tray in front of the machine. Light emitting diodes then fire infrared light at the sample and the reflected light is sensed by an array of photodiodes.

By identifying the wavelengths of infrared light that have been absorbed by the sample, NEC says the wine-bot can correctly identify the unique organic components of 30 popular wines within 30 seconds.

Simple and effective, and less prone to error than a human taster. Will advances in this field lead to the death of the wine critic in the future? Only time will tell.

Read [New Scientist Tech]