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New tomato harvesting robot tested

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Israeli start-up MetoMotion hopes that its new Greenhouse Robotic Worker (GRoW), which is described as ‘a multipurpose robotic intensive system for labor-intensive tasks in greenhouses’ will impress industrial users with the ability to harvest tomatoes.

The company currently has a patent pending for its 3D Vision System is to detect ripe fruit and calculates their location. The system designed to locate a stem without the need for exact data and to cut and catch fruits in a single operation. The company says the unit will also clear away obstacles and will not damage plant or fruit.

“With GRoW, we’ve tried to solve a complex problem in a smart, simple and effective manner,” says MetoMotion CEO Adi Nir. “The system is designed for a simple operation and a smooth integration into an existing greenhouse infrastructure and practice. We want to reduce the limitations and the high costs associated with human labour in greenhouse vegetable production.” However, the machine is still some way from commercialisation, with the developers seeking to raise $1.5 million in funding, together with another $1 million from government grants.

MetoMotion is not the only company working to robotically harvest greenhouse crops. In July, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) will be demonstrating the SWEEPER pepper harvesting robot in the commercial greenhouse of ‘De Tuindershoek’ in Ijsselmuiden, the Netherlands. According to WUR, the SWEEPER robot is the first sweet pepper harvesting robot in the world to be demonstrated in a commercial greenhouse.

 

Photo Caption: Render of the GRoW robot

Photo Credit: MetoMotion

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