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.
Jos 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 ins
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology