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Oranges and mandarins are inspected using artificial vision
Date:10/11/2011

pection 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
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FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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