While Bunz calls his creation an artificial tongue, it’s actually a fluorescent solution. You simply mix in a whiskey sample if you want to identify it. In that sense, it works just like the organ. “Our human tongue consists of 6 or 7 different receptors — sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami, and hotness — and they’re able to identify food by differential reactions of those elements,” he said. “The combination of differential receptors gives you an overall taste impression of what you eat.”
The solution was able to tell 33 different whiskies from each other during Bunz’s tests, since it gives off a unique reaction for each one. Even better, it’s much quicker and cheaper to use than current techniques employed to determine the authenticity of drinks. Bunz is now planning to create a version for red wine, but it has lots of other potential applications. According to his paper, it could also be used to detect counterfeit prescription drugs and perfumes in the future.