The Strawberry Picking Robot

Our world has come a long way with constant developments, making us arrive at a stage where we can get any task done putting the least effort. This has been made possible largely because of the use of robots in our day to day life.

The history of these automates travels way back to the medieval period, when they were tiny figures, in the form of humans that ran on concealed system. They were places in churches and such places to amaze worshippers and to induce them into believing in superior powers. For instance, there was something called the clock jack, in the 13th century, which struck time with the help of an axe on a bell. It was made to seem like the jack was doing it without any assistance. By the 18th century, automatons, such as these, turned out to become toys for the richer class.

But the contemporary robot came into being during the 1940s, after the advent of computers. In the following two decades, the concept of robotics became popular especially and the industrial robots were employed in the fast growing automotive industry. These robots did not take the form of a human figure but were mechanisms with parts like extended arms, which helped in spraying paints, welding etc.

These wonders were mainly created so that they could go around performing tasks that challenged the humans. Robots can even go to the extent of deactivating a bomb or surveying the ocean’s floor and also go to space. Lately the farming industry has been funding on in the concept of robotics, to make them perform labor intensive tasks such as plucking fruits from trees and orchards. This would help save the time and effort, which go into such a task, by a great amount. Moreover, it would save a production company from unnecessary employment of migrant workers.

Hence thus, at a point where we are letting the robots overtake the world economy, Japan has brought in the Strawberry Picking Robots. The farmers of Japan are getting older and they are finding it hard to get the younger generation to work on the grounds. This robot that bagged the excellence award at the fourth robot award ceremony is developed by Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization.

This robot can tell which strawberries are ready for harvesting by using cameras to detect the color and ripeness of the berries and snips the stalk in a way that it doesn’t damage the fruit. It harvests over 60% of the strawberry crop and takes about 9 seconds to pick a berry. The two cameras in the robot help in detecting the 3D position of the fruit using stereo imaging and measure the color to calculate the ripeness. Currently the threshold being set at a level of 80%, the robot will pick the berry if its color is more than 80%. The strawberry picking robot reduces the harvesting time by 40%, which when done manually took about 500 hours to harvest a 1000 square meter field.

Presently, this robot has been designed for picking strawberries only, but this technology could be applies for harvesting other crops too. Surely, robots at their best.

If you are impressed with this robot design, you should also read the articles of Robotic Humanoids and Dreamer Meka HCRL Sociable Robot.