Rubion Robot Developed by Mechatronic Startup Octinion uses photon sensors to detect wavelengths of light, or “signatures” that are given from mature, red strawberries in accordance with a preset set of characteristics. Then use a patented “soft touch handle” to pick strawberries without damaging the fruits more than human beings, without cuts or stinging stems.
14 of these new robots would pick up and pack 34,000 kilograms of all the perfect, red strawberries needed for Wimbledon for less than 7 days, because that’s how much strawberries are consumed by fans every year. Each Rubion bot collects and packs between 180 and 360 kilograms of ripe strawberries every day (at about one second every 5 seconds). To put it in perspective, depending on the skill and experience, an enthusiastic human picker can collect about 50 pounds per day but will have to take breaks, be prepared to work for very little and be tempted to eat some of the gorgeous berries.
The robot chooses single strawberries that are bred in raised bedding a few feet from the floor and can sort the fruits by their size or weight and pack them in the boxes as they go further.
For this development, R & D Octinion was supported by ACTPHAST 4.0 of the EU’s photonic innovation incubator.
“Collecting soft fruit machines has always been awkward because it is easy to crumble, and the sensitivity needed to determine if the fruit is ripe or broken, simply was not enough,” explained the director of the company Octinion and founder Dr. Tom Coen.
“However, Rubion, our autonomous strawberry picking robot is a new way to address this problem. This can be compared to people in many ways: the robot only selects the finest fresh, red berries and will not in any way make bruises or hurt strawberries. “
Harvest and sorting speeds are comparable to the ideal human picker, but with advanced quality control and ability to work without rest 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The company claims that its robots will soon be able to address the problem of scarcity of human beans on farms around the world, avoiding the gruesome rotting of frozen fruit.
“Just as you know what it looks like a full-bodied red strawberry, Rubion can do it mathematically, first looking for infrared spectroscopic thermal signatures that come from fruit, getting the perfect” hit “each time,” noted Dr. Jan Anthonis, CTO and Co-Founder Octiniona. ACTPHAST 4.0 has helped the company develop photon components for its robots, with incubator partners who could provide a full spectrum of photonic technology platforms ranging from fiber optics and microoptics to highly integrated photonics platforms.