Students from the National University of Colombia (UNAL) developed a new robotic system that is capable of automatically classifying oranges according to their size and degree of maturity, through the use of ABB industrial robots and artificial vision techniques. The system was developed as part of a project carried out in a Robotics course of the University's Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.
Mechatronics Engineering students Jurgen Krejci, Alejandro Marin, Sebastian Realpe, Johan Ramirez and Luis Rodriguez managed to scale an industrial gripper or clamp to pick oranges, which they had designed from a strawberry sorter developed in Lego Mindstorms. To do this, they used a depth camera to detect where the fruits are, a transport band for the output of the material, two ABB robots, and a tool designed by them that collects the oranges with suction cups after detecting their position thanks to an algorithm.
According to Jurgen Krejci, the coordinator of the MomentUN seedbed, this project also demonstrates that robotics and automation can provide solutions and opportunities to the agricultural sector by optimizing their processes and making them more competitive against countries that already have automated collection and fruit classification systems.
This project was presented by the students to the university community within the framework of the Mecatronic´s day, an event organized by the MomentUN seedbed and the course professor to disseminate among the public the works carried out in Mechatronic Engineering.