_42047246_winebot_203b.thumbnailFigures, just when we start getting the hang of this whole Sommelier thing, the Japanese have to come along with some fancy robot to out do us. This 2ft. tall robot (wine-bot) developed by NEC System Technologies and Mie University, uses infrared light to identify different tastes. "The infrared light is fired through the sample, and the robot can differentiate between different types of food and drink by determining the different wavelengths of light that are absorbed." Wow, fancy. Strangely the bottle of Yellow Tail analysized in the photo is coming up as Diet Coke. (oh, we kid, we kid).

The benefit for the consumer, aside from having a fancy new toy to show off (to make up for the laser pen/voice recorder that didn't have the impact you expected) is the robot can reccomend wines to suit your palate. But then again, so can the guy in the wine shop and he doesn't require batteries.

Although we may seem kind of hard on this robo-Sommelier of sorts, we do appreciate that companies are trying to find ways to make wine more approachable and personalized. Who knows what's next on the horizon? Maybe a robo-chef who can whip up a great meal to go with my customized, robo-selected Barolo. Ok, we're sold.