Researchers have developed an electronic tongue. (Don't start.) The device is something like a litmus test for taste that, according to chemists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is incredibly accurate at measuring sweet things. The system consists of a paper dotted with an array of color-changing gels that react to a variety of different sweeteners. The electronic device scans the color of the dots after the paper is exposed to a sample. The combination of the gels' reactions, represented by their color, reveals the "taste." There are already chemical or electronic methods to test for other flavors detected by human tongues: saltiness, sourness, and savoriness. From National Geographic:
Sourness is just another word for acidity, Suslick said, which any high school chemistry student can test for using litmus paper.
"Electronic Tongue" Mimics Human Taste Organ
Savoriness - also called "umami" - and saltiness can already be measured by handheld devices sensitive to protein levels and sodium and potassium ions.
The final dimension of taste that remains to be cracked is bitterness, which is still somewhat of an unknown.
"We lump a whole bunch of things into that one word," said (UIUC professor Kenneth) Suslick, whose study appeared August 1 in the journal Analytical Chemistry. "It just isn't clear yet what the bitterness receptors [in the tongue] are and what they respond to."
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]