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IBM Debuts Hypertaste 'E-Tongue'

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Vaping was built on the foundation of cool new technology, and now artificial intelligence (AI) could be implemented in our industry — among others. Information technology company IBM has debuted Hypertaste, an AI-powered “electronic tongue” that can distinguish amongst liquid flavors.

Hypertaste will be used to “fingerprint liquids that are less suitable for ingestion, but that need to be identified more rapidly than is possible using traditional laboratories.” For vaping brick-and-mortar stores that are affected by bans that don’t allow indoor vaping — which effectively bans taste testing — or companies wanting to verify or change e-liquid testing methods — Hypertaste could be the wave of the future.

Other liquids like water quality checks and counterfeit alcohol are named as some of the first uses for Hypertaste. Slash Gear reports that the e-tongue will work through “combinatorial sensing, which involves individual sensors simultaneously responding to different chemicals in a liquid. The result is a ‘fingerprint’ of the liquid. The device is made using off-the-shelf electronics and works with a mobile app to transfer data to the cloud.”

Of course Hypertaste is a more expensive alternative, much like other new technology, but it could circumnavigate the time consuming process of lab work. The composition of liquids via Hypertaste can be revealed in one minute on a smartphone, Slash Gear reports. The process starts with data on a server, which goes through a machine learning algorithm that shares results on the designated phone. IBM says that different machine learning models can be used, so “the same e-tongue device [can be used] for different tasks.”

Other uses for Hypertaste include:

  • Food and beverage testing
  • Environmental work
  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical testing
  • Liquid packaging verification