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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Electronics to know when a bottle is corked or turned

I reckon that UC Berkeley is close enough to wine country that one of their major concerns is about wine and solving problems related to the industry. UC Davis tends to be more wine focused, but Berkeley likes to get in on the action too.

The latest is this small transistor that you can drop into a bottle of wine that is made of carbon. The piece, costing about 10 cents and hoping to go down to 5, can give off an electronic signal when something goes wrong with the wine. Maybe it's corked, maybe it got too hot, etc. This way a restaurant or cellar can know if a wine is bad before they bring it out for you to taste.

The fact that these are made of carbon over silicon means that you can make organic semiconductors, of which, you can make a lot of organic compounds, exactly what's needed when trying to accomplish something that is an electronic tastebud.

Don't expect this anytime soon though. Though they're getting the method down, it's a long way before it can be everyday practice.

A semiconductor for sommeliers