Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


‘Brain’ developed for low-cost PC-based grading of tomatoes and eggs

Multi-awarded computer scientist Prof. Jaderick Pabico of the University of the Philippines Los Baños has developed a computational model that can operate a cheap computer-based system to grade agricultural produce such as tomatoes and eggs.


In most countries, including the Philippines, many agricultural products are still graded using a standard criterion. In tomatoes, color is used to determine ripeness; in eggs, the shells are inspected for defects.

The color of tomato and the shell quality of eggs affect consumers’ purchasing habits, hence, dictate the price of the product. Accurate grading is therefore critical for enterprises.

The problem with visual inspection of tomatoes and eggs, however, is that of accuracy over time. “Because manual grading is labor-intensive, workers will naturally grow tired and bored— thus increasing the chances for errors, especially after they have worked for a few hours without break,” explained Prof. Pabico.


Although several ways of automated grading of agricultural products have been developed abroad, the systems are costly and would only work in controlled farm environments. The Philippines needed something for its small farms.

Prof. Pabico’s model provides an affordable alternative. He came up with it by setting up machine vision systems (MVS) – two computers equipped each with a web camera. The first MVS will be used for grading tomatoes while the second, for eggs.

The camera serves as the “eye” of the MVS that senses and captures images of the tomatoes or eggs, while the computer runs the “brain” of the MVS, which determines the grade of the produce.


Prof. Pabico said that building the MVSs is the easy part. It is creating and optimizing the brains for each system that took time.

“We took the first MVS set to a commercial tomato farm in Tagaytay City and took 6,000 pictures of freshly harvested tomatoes using the web camera. The other unit we used to capture 750 images of harvested eggs from a backyard poultry raiser in Sariaya, Quezon,” Prof. Pabico recounted.

The images of the tomatoes and eggs were then prepared for ‘feeding’ into the respective brains—an artificial neural network (ANN). The process involved extracting the image of the product from its background using what is called an edge algorithm, extracting the red/green/blue spectral patterns of the product, and normalization of the patterns. The normalized patterns were used to ‘train’ the MVSs to grade the tomatoes and eggs.

After running tests, the computers determined whether the tomatoes where in the Green, Breakers, Turning, Pink, Light Red, and Red stages and whether the eggs are acceptable or rejects.


After measuring performances of both human graders and the ANN in classifying eggs, Prof. Pabico found that the ANN posted a grading performance of 76%; humans posted 73%. ANN also did the job of classifying tomatoes better, recording an accuracy of 97% against the humans’ 93%.

In addition, the average accuracy of the human tomato and egg graders declined over an eight-hour work shift. Human accuracy was found to go up again after 15-minute snack breaks and after lunch, but the performance increase was not enough to bring the accuracy back to original levels.

The ANNs developed in this research may be used as a potent classifier for MVSs for tomato maturity classification and egg grading,” said Prof. Pabico.


“Later on we hope to look into the rate of grading of both humans and the MVS by hooking up the MVS to a conveyor belt. We can then look for ways to speed up image acquisition and processing, as well as the analysis by the ANN and its data output on screen,” he added.

“With current advances in ANN research, it may be soon possible to grade agricultural produce using a group of ANNs that will analyze objects simultaneously. This would increase accuracy even more,” he concluded.

Florante A. Cruz | Research asia research news
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>