Business Impact

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.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.