In order to regain their sense of hearing, many deaf people currently opt for cochlear implants. Such devices are expensive, however, plus they must be surgically installed and they don't work on all forms of hearing loss. That's why a group of researchers at Colorado State University (CSU) are developing an alternative – an electric retainer that transmits spoken words to the user by buzzing their tongue. Read More

When we first covered the electronic tongue developed by a team led by Professor Manel Del Valle at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, it was enjoying a glass or two of cava wine. Now the researchers have turned to beer, and report that their electronic tongue can correctly identify different beer varieties with a success rate of almost 82 percent. Read More

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a holiday in which we celebrate the blessings granted by Life, the Universe, and Everything. A central part of Thanksgiving traditions involves a massive feast, often featuring turkey or ham, and a selection of delicious side dishes. It may soon be possible to virtually experience such a repast as enjoyed by a character in a movie or a video game, aided by a new method for digitally actuating the sense of taste through electrical and thermal stimulation of the tongue. Read More

If you get a minor burn somewhere on the outside of your body, you can usually help dull the pain and promote healing by applying a piece of gauze and an ointment such as Polysporin. When you scald your tongue on a hot food or drink, however, you can’t exactly put a Band-Aid on it. That said, you may soon be able to apply a soothing medicated strip, instead. Read More

For those unfortunate enough to suffer from severe spinal cord injuries, the tongue is often the only extremity still under their control. To take advantage of this fact, engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they call the Tongue Drive System (TDS), a wireless, wearable device that allows the user to operate computers and control electric wheelchairs with movements of the tongue. The latest iteration, which resembles a sensor-studded dental retainer, is controlled by a tongue-mounted magnet and promises its users a welcome new level of autonomy with both communication and transportation. Read More
Spanish efforts to find an electronic alternative to the tried and tested expertise of a human sommelier have now resulted in a system that can tell the difference between varieties of sparkling wine. The new development combines advanced mathematical processing tools with chemical measurement systems and an artificial neural network to create an electronic tongue currently capable of identifying the characteristics of just three cava wines, but with the potential to learn all types available on the market. Read More
Not to be confused with the bizarre robotic tongue prototype, “electronic tongues” have been in use for the past several years, for assessing the content of various foods and beverages – and no, unfortunately they don’t look like actual tongues. While past examples have been used for purposes such as identifying the vintage and grape variety of wines, researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have recently developed one that analyzes the content of antioxidant powder, along with fruit and fruit products. Read More
Services such as Skype have certainly made things a little easier for geographically-separated romantic partners, but when the tele-chat is over and it's time to say good night, sometimes a little air kiss blown towards a webcam just isn't enough. While there are products that cater for the long-distance physical needs of couples, those might be a bit much for everyday situations. There's also the KissPhone, which attempts to simulate the sensation of one partner's lips against the other's. Sitting between those two extremes, however, is the "Kiss Transmission Device" – a prototype gizmo designed to allow its users to virtually lock tongues. Read More
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one million Americans over the age of 40 are legally blind - defined by U.S. law as vision that is 20/200 or worse, or have a field of view that is less than 20 degrees in diameter. It is estimated that adult vision loss costs the country about $51.4 billion per year. A new device aims to help restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by using nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain. Read More
Could this new electronic wine-tasting tongue challenge the finest wine tasters in the world? Invented by European scientists, this handheld device has a multi-sensor chip which senses distinctive characteristics of wine varieties. By analyzing the sugar content, acidity and alcohol, the machine can also determine the year and grape variety of the sample and instead of waiting days for laboratories to analyze wine samples, wine industry specialists will be able to get a sample result at the touch of a button. Read More