Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Machine that visually inspects and sorts strawberry plants invented

Date:
December 21, 2009
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a plant-sorting machine that uses computer vision and machine learning to inspect and grade harvested strawberry plants and then mechanically sort them by quality -- tasks that until now could only be done manually.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) have developed a plant-sorting machine that uses computer vision and machine learning to inspect and grade harvested strawberry plants and then mechanically sort them by quality — tasks that until now could only be done manually.
Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) have developed a plant-sorting machine that uses computer vision and machine learning to inspect and grade harvested strawberry plants and then mechanically sort them by quality -- tasks that until now could only be done manually.

Related Articles


In a successful field test this fall, the machine classified and sorted harvested plants more consistently and faster than workers could, with a comparable error rate. "We're looking forward to using the system," said Liz Ponce, CEO of Lassen Canyon Nursery in Redding, Calif., one of five strawberry plant producers sponsoring the NREC project. "All of our stakeholders feel that it has a lot of potential."

The other sponsors are Driscoll Nursery Associates; Nor Cal Nursery, Inc.; Plant Sciences, Inc.; and Crown Nursery LLC. Together, the five producers represent about 85 percent of the California strawberry plant nursery market. To maintain good strawberry yields, commercial berry growers must replace their plants every year.

During the fall harvest season, strawberry plant nursery farms use manual labor to sort several hundred million strawberry plants into good and bad categories -- a tedious and costly process. The strawberry plant sorter uses computer vision to examine harvested plants that pass by on a conveyor belt. The sorter's novel machine learning algorithms allow it to be taught how to classify strawberry plants of different sizes, varieties and stages of growth, beyond the simple classification of good and bad plants.

This introduces dramatic new efficiencies for strawberry nursery farms, helping them improve quality, streamline production and deliver better strawberry plants to berry growers, which in turn produces better strawberries for consumers. "The sorter can adapt to plants that vary from year to year, or even within the same growing season," said Christopher Fromme, the project's manager and lead engineer. "It's very flexible."

During a 10-day field test in October, NREC engineers tested the strawberry plant sorter under realistic conditions, where rain and frost change plants' appearance, and roots may contain mud and debris. The prototype system had to sort plants of different varieties and levels of maturity. While in the field, it sorted more than 75,000 strawberry plants. On average, it sorted 5,000 plants per hour, several times faster than human sorting.

The NREC hopes to achieve sorting rates of 20,000-30,000 plants per hour with the final system. While the sorter's overall error rate was close to that of human workers, it inspected and sorted plants more consistently. "That's the beauty of it," Ponce said. "Hand sorting varies more and has more drift in quality." The successful field trial concludes phase two of a five-phase program that will develop a machine ready for commercial operations. Phase three will develop better methods to separate harvested strawberry plants for inspection, improve the sorter's robustness and ease of use, and integrate it into the nurseries' harvesting and packaging processes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Machine that visually inspects and sorts strawberry plants invented." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217102318.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2009, December 21). Machine that visually inspects and sorts strawberry plants invented. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217102318.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Machine that visually inspects and sorts strawberry plants invented." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217102318.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Drinks for Your Health

The Best Drinks for Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) When it comes to health and fitness, there&apos;s lots of talk about what foods to eat, but there are a few liquids that can promote good nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the healthiest drinks to boost your health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) From sweet cherries to sugar snap peas, spring is the peak season for some of the tastiest and healthiest produce. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best seasonal fruits and veggies to spring in to good health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins