Researchers in Arkansas and Georgia have shown that delicate fresh-market blackberries typically picked by human hands to maintain quality, can now be picked by robots as well.
Renee Threlfall, food science research scientist with the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, and three other authors have been researching robotic picking. They recently received the Outstanding Fruit Publication Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science for their work. The award recognized an article on the research that laid the groundwork for developing a soft robotic hand to develop an autonomous blackberry-picking robot.
The research to establish force parameters to pick blackberries was funded in part by a University of Arkansas Chancellor’s Innovation and Collaboration Fund grant with Yue Chen, previously an assistant professor in the University of Arkansas mechanical engineering department.
Photo source: U of A System Division of Agriculture