In an attempt to alleviate over £100,000 of lost revenue for an average farm every year due to wasted crops, UK-based researcher Richard Dudley of the National Physical Laboratory is currently developing a robot concept that can determine and pick the ripest and sweetest fruit–such as a strawberry–using multiple wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
Unlike similar robot fruit pickers developed by researchers from the United States and Japan that seem to have trouble differentiating the fruit from its leaves, Dudley’s robot concept is able to analyze the plants with a combination of micro-, radio, terahertz, and far-infrared waves. Dudley says of his project:
Our aim is to develop a unique new automated harvesting machine that will dramatically improve productivity in the UK and global farming industry and ultimately benefit consumers through cheaper food in the supermarkets.
Illustration by James Provost for Wired