Counting pulpy peppers with a robot

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20 January 2020

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Paprika grower Litjens from Meterik felt the need to optimize the harvest of his peppers. Perhaps a robot could help? With this question Alexander Warkus got to work, at the time a student of Fontys Hogeschool Techniek en Logistiek in Venlo. With the software he developed, growers can now count the peppers ready for picking on their plants.

Counting robot

The work of Alexander Warkus took place in the GreenTechLab of Fontys Venlo. He developed software that enables a robot to recognize and count peppers. The robot moves over tubes in the greenhouse and scans the bell pepper plants. For the growers, the machine keeps track of where the peppers that are ready for picking are hanging and how many there are. This makes it easier for the grower to plan the work and for entrepreneurs to better estimate how many pickers they will need for the harvest.

Not ready yet

Last summer Alexander Warkus graduated from the Computer Science - Software Engineering program. He completed his bachelor program with the development of this software, and also won the Fontys Research Award. Yet the developed software is not yet finished. "The next step is for a robot to drive through the greenhouse and see whether a bell pepper is ripe or not and then pick the ripe ones," says Warkus.

Another Fontys student is delving further into the outstanding issues surrounding the counting of peppers. Warkus is still involved, now from the role of computer scientist at the Fontys GreenTechLab. He supervises the student who wants to develop the software further.

Source: New Harvest