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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Robot Taste Buds  
  A sensor for robots that would allow it to taste foods like a human being.  

"Half your time in cooking is wasted reaching around for what you need next. We can build in a lot of that stuff. For instance, one [mechanical] tentacle can be a registering thermometer. tapering to a fine point - stick it in a roast. One can end in a broad spoon for stirring - heat resistant, of course. One might terminate in a sort of hand, of which each of the digits was a different-sized measuring spoon. And best of all - why the nuisance of bringing food to the mouth to taste? Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle.
From Robinc, by Anthony Boucher.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1943
Additional resources -

Compare the ability to taste with the ability to smell. See the mechanical hound from Ray Bradbury's 1953 masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 and the sniffer robot from Michael Crichton's 1985 movie Runaway.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Robinc
  More Ideas and Technology by Anthony Boucher
  Tech news articles related to Robinc
  Tech news articles related to works by Anthony Boucher

Robot Taste Buds-related news articles:
  - Magnetic 'Tongue' Can Taste Tomatoes
  - E-Delicious Machine A Food-Tasting Robot
  - Electronic Tongue Knows Beer Better Than You
  - Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen

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