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Brainwaves help bartenders ‘read’ customers’ minds

Headset sensors on show at the world cocktail-making championships in Glasgow measured the brain’s reaction to flavours and smells.

Headset devices measured the reaction of people’s brains to various flavours and aromas (World Class/PA)
Headset devices measured the reaction of people’s brains to various flavours and aromas (World Class/PA)

By David Young, PA

Brainwave technology is being used to help indecisive cocktail fans pick the drink that best suits their palate.

The futuristic sensory experiment, which involves attaching electrical sensors to the head of the consumer, was showcased at this week’s world bartending championships in Scotland.

Guests at the World Class competition in Glasgow were invited to take part, with the headset devices measuring the reaction of their brains to various flavours and aromas.

The readouts from the electroencephalography (EEG) tests suggested which ingredient elicited the strongest response from each participant.

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Headset sensors measure the brain’s reaction to different flavours and aromas (World Class/PA)

The novel exercise was run by gin brand Tanqueray No. Ten to demonstrate one way in which the drinks industry is pushing technological boundaries.

Frank Thelen, a brand ambassador with Tanqueray in Germany, said the EEG sensors were able to identify taste preferences long hidden in the far reaches of someone’s brain.

“It’s like when you walk through a street and you smell a certain aroma and you remember a thing from your childhood,” he said.

“It’s secrets inside of your mind that you do not know are happening – it’s very, very interesting. It’s very cool, awesome.”

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Frank Thelen explains how the EEG technology works (World Class/PA)

The experiment was part of an interactive zone at the World Class event hosted by drinks giant Diageo.

Also on show at the SWG3 venue was an innovation by music streaming service Spotify to develop playlists tailored to certain drinks.

The tracks were determined by a data analysis of the emotions expressed on social media when people posted about specific drinks or brands.

Simon Earley, head of Diageo World Class, said the initiatives on display offered a glimpse of the future for cocktail connoisseurs.

“We are committed to investing in the experience economy and ‘what’s next’ in global cocktail culture,” he said.

PA

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