Potato Operation: automatic detection of potato diseases
Optics in Agriculture, Forestry, and Biological Processing
The Potato Operation is a collaborative, multidisciplinary project in the domain of destructive testing of agricultural products. It aims at automatizing pulp sampling of potatoes in order to detect possible viral diseases. Such viruses can decrease fields productivity by a factor of up to ten. A machine, composed of three conveyor belts, a vision system, a robotic arm and controlled by a PC has been built. Potatoes are brought one by one from a bulk to the vision system, where they are seized
... re they are seized by a rotating holding device. The sprouts, where the viral activity is maximum, are then detected by an active vision process operating on multiple views. The 3D coordinates of the sampling point are communicated to the robot arm holding a drill. Some flesh is then sampled by the drill, then deposited into an Elisa plate. After sampling, the robot arm washes the drill in order to prevent any contamination. The PC computer simultaneously controls three processes, the conveying of the potatoes, the vision algorithms and the sampling procedure. The master process, that is the vision procedure, makes use of three methods to achieve the sprouts detection. A profile analysis first locates the sprouts as protuberances. Two frontal analyses, respectively based on fluorescence and local variance, confirm the previous detection and provide the 3D coordinate of the sampling zone. The other two processes work by interruption of the master process.