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This work represents the first attempt to develop a sensory system, specifically designed for the characterization of wines, which combines three sensory modalities: an array of gas sensors, an array of electrochemical liquid sensors, and an optical system to measure color by means of CIElab coordinates. This new analytical tool, that has been called "electronic panel," includes not only sensors, but also hardware (injection system and electronics) and the software necessary for fusing information from the three modules. Each of the three sensory modalities (volatiles, liquids, and color) has been designed, tested, and optimized separately. The discrimination capabilities of the system have been evaluated on a database consisting of six red Spanish wines prepared using the same variety of grape (tempranillo) but differing in their geographic origins and aging stages. Sensor signals from each module have been combined and analyzed using pattern recognition techniques. The results of this work show that the discrimination capabilities of the system are significantly improved when signals from each module are combined to form a multimodal feature vector.
Date of Publication: June 2004