Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oranges and mandarins are inspected using artificial vision

12.10.2011
Scientists at the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA, Spain) have created a machine that detects and separates rotten oranges, another that classifies mandarin segments according to their quality and another that helps citrus fruit pickers out in the field. All prototypes use computer vision to automatically inspect the fruits.

Until now, rotten oranges have been detected manually in dark rooms with the help of ultraviolet light that illuminates the essential oils in damaged rind through fluorescence. The job is carried out in strictly timed shifts due to the risk that this type of light poses. However, a team of researchers from Valencia have just created a machine that can carry out the task automatically.

José Blasco, researcher at the IVIA and a member of the team that patented the machine explains that "through collaboration with a company within this sector, we have developed software and hardware that can locate rotten citrus fruits and discard of those that are not fit for sale."

This creation is just one of the many agricultural applications developed by these scientists in the last 20 years thanks to advances in artificial vision, a series of techniques that allow for a computer to be programmed so that it "understands" the image it has in front of it and can act accordingly. The results have been published in the Food and Bioprocess Technology journal.

Another of the machines -in the presence of visible light- classifies citrus fruits on the production line according to their quality, colouring and the type of damage that the skin presents. In this way, first class fruits that are destined for more demanding markets can be separated from second class fruits that are perfectly edible despite having some small defect like being bruised or scratched. The analysis is carried out at a speed of 15 to 20 pieces of fruit per second.

Researchers have also developed a device that automates the inspection of ready-to-eat mandarin segments. After being individually separated on a vibrating platform, they are transported on a conveyor belt to the inspection area which is able to examine 28 segments per second. At this stage, the broken segments are separated from the whole segments and the same goes for those with or without pips. Skin and any other foreign bodies are also identified and eliminated from the production line.

Blasco outlines that "as well as developing property statistical and computing techniques, the prototypes use the highest image resolution that modern equipment can achieve. They are capable of analysing objects in regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye cannot see such as ultraviolet and infrared."

Medical techniques for analysing fruit

"We have even started to inspect the internal quality of fruit using magnetic imaging resonance (MRI), computerized axial tomography (CAT) or X-rays, like those that are used in medicine," he adds. "Although at the moment, these are costly techniques and we must continue in our investigations so as to facilitate their installation and make them more efficient in the fruit selection process."

One of the latest investigations focuses on the use of hyperspectral imaging, which collects and processes information from a large part of the electromagnetic spectrum and provides individual spectral measurements for each pixel. This method can be applied as a way of identifying chemical compounds whose concentrations can change as the fruit ripens or rots. Therefore, it is possible to predict the perfect time to eat the fruit or, indeed, to track the evolution of a disease in the fruit.

The most sizeable of IVIA's projects is a machine that helps during the picking of citrus fruits and it is the size of a large tractor. Blasco highlights that it is a self-propelled prototype capable of classifying oranges whilst still out in the field. As a result, he states that "it is very important that the inspection system is highly efficient from an energy consumption point of view."

Operators pick the fruits and place them on the machine's mobile belt. Quality, colour and the presence of external damage is determined using sensors and a vision system.

The information gathered by the sensors is then transmitted to an automated logic controller in order for the fruit to be classified into the three established categories. Upon arrival at the warehouse, the fruit has already been preclassified and comes with complete statistics on its quality. This allows for it to be valued and its immediate destination can be decided upon.

References:

Sergio Cubero, Nuria Aleixos, Enrique Moltó, Juan Gómez-Sanchis, Jose Blasco. "Advances in Machine Vision Applications for Automatic Inspection and Quality Evaluation of Fruits and Vegetables". Food and Bioprocess Technology 4(4): 487-504, 2011. DOI: 10.1007/s11947-010-0411-8. These investigations are funded by the Spanish National Institute for Agricultural and Food Scientific Research and Technology (INIA) and the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN).

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fecyt.es/fecyt/home.do

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>