MetoMotion- Greenhouse Robotic Tomato Harvester
Robots for harvesting vegetables and fruits are being tested in the fields near the English city of Cornwall, showing the practical benefits of robotics in agriculture.
Robotics instructor Martin Stolen is responsible for the development of a series of flexible robotic arms. Researchers are teaching robots to collect fruits and vegetables without human intervention. Currently, tests are being carried out on tomatoes, cauliflower and even raspberries..
The manipulator for agriculture is based on the GummiArm technology, thanks to which a robotic arm was created. GummiArm simulates variable grip strength brushes. The manipulator can interact with the environment, developing its own sensorimotor skills. The arm can change strength by flexing and extending elastic tendons, while maintaining resistance to unexpected impacts in «relaxed» condition. If one of the parts does break down, it will be easy to replace it using the sources for printing on a 3D printer..
Stolen received £9.6 million for development and has already signed a contract for cooperation with Hall Hunter Partnership – one of the leaders of the British fruit market.
The manipulator uses a high quality video camera to locate the fruit. Nowadays, the quality of video cameras has increased so much that they even find cracks in bridges with a size of 0.4 mm..
text: Dmitry Tokarev, photo: plymouthherald.co.uk