Japan Launches Industrial Harvesting Robot That can Judge the Ripeness of Individual Strawberries
The machine moves on rails in a greenhouse. It has a 3D stereo camera system to image the berries and judge which ones are ripe according to color.
When it finds one, a robotic arm reaches out and snips its stem. Into the basket it goes. It can harvest a berry every 8 seconds.
"This robot would harvest two-thirds of the strawberries during the night when growers are sleeping," Shibuya Seiki’s Mitsutaka Kurita told AFP.
"The farmer can then pick the rest of the strawberries that the robot couldn’t get at."
While a small basket of strawberries can fetch about $5 in Japan, harvesting them takes a lot more work than other produce such as rice, tomatoes, or cucumbers. But the machine could eventually pay for itself.
(via $50,000 strawberry-picking robot to go on sale in Japan | Crave - CNET)