Japan robot can pick strawberry fields forever for farmer

Sep 25, 2013
Agricultural machinery maker Shibuya Seiki and National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation display a robot picking a ripe strawberry, Tokyo, September 25, 2013.

A robot that picks ripe strawberries as the farmer sleeps was unveiled in Japan on Wednesday, with its developer saying it could cut workloads by two-thirds.

The device, which can gather a piece of fruit every eight seconds, uses three cameras to determine which strawberries are ready to pick before darting out an arm and snipping them into its basket.

The two-metre (6ft 6ins) robot moves on rails between rows of strawberries, which are usually grown in elevated planters in in Japan.

It "calculates the degree of ripeness from the colour of the strawberry, which it observes with two digital cameras", said Mitsutaka Kurita, an official of Shibuya Seiki which developed the machine.

"It also uses the images from the two cameras to calculate the distance from the target, then approaches the strawberry it is aiming at," he said.

A third camera then takes a detailed picture of the fruit, which it uses for the final calculation before moving in for the snip.

Strawberry farming is highly labour-intensive, requiring 70 times the input that growing rice requires and twice that of and , said a statement from co-developer the National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation.

"This robot would harvest two-thirds of strawberries during the night when growers are sleeping," Kurita said.

"The farmer can then pick the rest of the strawberries that the robot couldn't get at," he said.

The robot will be on sale early next year for about five million yen ($50,000).

Strawberries are available all year round in Japan, where they usually cost at least 500 yen for a small punnet.

Explore further: Wearable 4MM jetpack tested on speed, agility for runners (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New strawberry species found in Oregon

Jul 16, 2013

A recently discovered wild strawberry provides new genetic material for plant research and may lead to a new class of commercial strawberries, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist. ...

Germany: Frozen fruit blamed in vomiting sickness

Oct 06, 2012

(AP)—Authorities say a single batch of deep-frozen strawberries appears to have been behind an outbreak of gastroenteritis in eastern Germany that hit more than 11,000 people, mostly children at schools and day-care centers.

Scientists hope to create robot strawberry pickers

Oct 19, 2011

Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's Measurement Institute, have developed an imaging technology which can identify the ripeness of strawberries before they are picked. The developers ...

Recommended for you

Robot Boris learning to load a dishwasher (w/ Video)

Sep 12, 2014

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have set themselves an ambitious goal: programming a robot in such a way as to allow it to collect dishes, cutlery, etc. from a dinner table, and put ...

Deep-sea diver hand offers freedom and feedback

Sep 12, 2014

Bodyskins and goggles are hardly the solution for divers who need to reach extreme depths. The Atmospheric Dive Suit (ADS) gives them the protection they need. Recently, The Economist detailed a technology ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Blogs6 Dotcom
not rated yet Oct 15, 2013
robortic farmer.......