Taste-Testing Robots May Soon Determine If Your Thai Takeout Is Authentic

Science & Tech / Machines

Taste-Testing Robots May Soon Determine If Your Thai Takeout Is Authentic

By: Nicole Capo

Just how genuine is that Pad Thai you’re eating? If the Thai government has anything to say about it, it’ll be just like the real thing, no matter what part of the world you’re in.

It seems that the government in Thailand isn’t happy with the lack of uniformity across Thai food available everywhere. According to ABC News, the National Innovation Agency (NIA), which had received a request from Thailand's Ministry of Science and Technology to promote Thai cuisine, discovered that many dishes in so-called "Thai restaurants" around the globe failed to match up with "government-standardized recipes" (apparently, Thailand's government sets a standard for its national dishes). "It is found that the flavors of Thai food in many standalone restaurants and in hotels abroad are deviated from the authentic ones," the NIA said in a written statement to ABC news.

Their solution? Roll out the taste-testing robots. Yes, that's right. Robots...as in plural. Two different robo-tasters were developed to check for a dish's authenticity. The first is the e-Delicious, which uses an electronic nose with 16 gas sensors and an electronic tongue that can sense sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami flavors. The second is the ESenS, which uses sensors to compare dishes to a database of Thai recipes that currently contains 11 government-approved dishes and growing.

It’s not the first we’ve heard of taste-testing robots, either. Researchers in Japan developed a robot that can identify wines, cheeses, and hors d'oeuvres. It can make recommendations on pairings, and also warn eaters about possibly health issues such as high fat or salt content. Another robot in Barcelona can distinguish between beers, correctly identifying varieties with a success rate of almost 82%. And with the advent of 3D printers, it’s not hard to imagine a future where you could just print yourself some authentic Thai food without worrying whether the person who made it followed the recipe or put their own flourish on it.

Though it’s not certain whether restaurants around the world are going to be embracing the technology in their own kitchens, concerned Thai-food eaters everywhere can be sure to make authentic-tasting Thai food at home with the government created app, Thai Delicious, which offers authentic Thai recipes. Go ahead, y’all: Get your Tom Yum Kung on.

[Pic via Flickr - stu_spivack]

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