October 3, 2013
A robot that picks ripe strawberries while farmers sleep has been unveiled with claims it could cut workloads by two-thirds.
The device, unveiled Wednesday, can pick a piece of fruit every eight seconds by using three cameras to determine which strawberries are ready to pick. A mechanized arm then darts out to snip each one free and place it into its basket.
The 2-meter robot moves on rails between rows of strawberries, which in Japan are usually grown in elevated greenhouse planters.
It “calculates the degree of ripeness from the color of the strawberry, which it observes with two digital cameras,” said Mitsutaka Kurita, an official at Shibuya Seiki, the developer of the machine.