Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization has developed this excessively complicated robot that’s able to visually recognize ripe strawberries and then delicately pluck them and drop them in a basket.
The robot operates at a speed of 9 seconds per strawberry, which is probably a minimum of 9 times slower than an experienced human would be able to do it, so I’m really not sure how the designers suggest that using robots would be 60% faster. The only way I can get that type of math to work is by using an impractical number of robots, and by impractical, I mean hugely expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a future in agricultural robots like this… But they’re going to have to find some way of overcoming cheap and efficient human labor first. This has already happened with lots of crops, but with some exceptions, fruit is significantly more difficult, because it has a ripeness factor and bruises easily.
The strawberry harvesting robot is currently being tested in the field, with a more practical production version due next year.
Via [ CrunchGear ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.