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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Berry Picking Robots

According to the Swedish Institute of Food and Biotechnology, SIK, more than 500.000 tons of wild berries are growing in the Swedish forests annualy but only 10-20.000 tons are picked by locals and 8000 foreign berry pickers during the summer season. There is a huge potential for market and technology development but picking automation seem to be tricky. A berry picking robot needs to pick ripe berries without damaging the branches or leaves of the berry tree. High mobility is needed and the robots must be able to access all areas of the berry tree being harvested. The robots must be 'intelligent', and have a human-like interaction with their surroundings through senses of touch, sight, and image processing.

The Japanesse venture firm Romobility Youto was first in 2006 with its strawberry picking robot. The robot moves through a greenhouse scanning the strawberries with its color-sensitive camera eye that could not only identify berries amidst the foliage, but also determine how ripe a strawberry is. The robot could snip the berries and place it on a tray. But the robot was very slow, only one berry every 10 seconds.



San Diego, USA based company Vision Robotics is working on a pair of robots that would trundle through orchards plucking oranges, apples or other fruit from the trees. The company hopes to develop a robot that can perform the tedious and labor-intensive task of fruit picking that currently employs thousands of migrant workers each season.


Image: Vision Robotics

1 comment:

Rhen Nicey said...

This program works much like other stock picking robots and the major trading houses in that it compares real time stocks and their behavior to well performing stocks of the past. If you can find a current stock which exhibits behavior similar to that of the origins of a subsequently well performing stock, then you can get a very good idea of how that current stock will act.