Video: Impressive Strawberry Picking Robot

Last week, we’ve shown you a comprehensive list of Japan’s top robots of 2010, as selected by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The list contains quite a few robots that are supposed to boost productivity in one form or the other, and now we have an impressive video that shows one of these models, a strawberry picking robot, in action.

Developed by Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization and other local institutions, the robot may sound boring (when compared to humanoids, for example), but it’s actually pretty cool. The main bullet points are that it automatically detects how ripe the strawberries are (which fruit is ready for harvesting) and that it cuts the stalks without damaging the strawberries.

The way it works is that the robot has two cameras to detect the position of a strawberry “in 3D”. It then measures its color (see above): if the strawberry is red enough (the current level stands at 80%), the robot picks it automatically – in about 9 seconds.

While it usually takes humans about 500 hours to pick all strawberries from a 1,000sqm field, using robots could push down that number to 300 hours, according to the maker of the robot.

The video embedded below (shot by DigInfonews in Tokyo) provides more insight: