Skip to Content

Melon Machine

Melon harvesting is hard, tedious work. Now a team of Israeli and U.S. researchers has designed a vision-endowed, melon-picking robot to do the job. The machine consists of a mobile platform on which are mounted an image-processing system, air blowers and a mechanical arm with a gripper attached. As a tractor slowly pulls the platform through the field, cameras take pictures that the system analyzes. (The air blowers ruffle the foliage to expose the fruit.) When the harvester sights a melon bigger than a certain size-and therefore presumed to be ripe-it extends the gripper to grab the fruit and lift it off the ground. Knives connected to the gripper slash the stalk, and the gripper places the melon on a conveyor belt. The robot is the fruit of a collaboration among three Israeli organizations (Ben-Gurion University, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Agricultural Research Organization) and Purdue University. It could be ready to work the fields in one to two years.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot
Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot

It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn’t let them.

If they ever hit our roads for real, other drivers need to know exactly what they are.

supermassive black hole at center of Milky Way
supermassive black hole at center of Milky Way

This is the first image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy

The stunning image was made possible by linking eight existing radio observatories across the globe.

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.