The pace of technical advancement in computer vision systems over the past few years has been nothing short of astounding . The eyes of machines are quickly gaining on their biological counterparts with 1,000-fps vision , the ability to figure out what they're looking at without human aid, and electronic eyes that can be outfitted to any robot . The same goes for tactile sensation and natural language processing , a robot's hands and ears. Research into machine tasting, however, has not seen quite the same degree of enthusiasm. But a new proof-of-concept from IBM Research could give field scientists access to a digital sommelier's palate, even when they're taste testing wastewater for hazardous contaminants.