Electrical field based detection of fruits and vegetables for robotized horticulture
Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Energetics, Cakstes blvd. 5, LV-3001 Jelgava, Latvia; *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this research authors study possibilities of using transmitting-type electric field based sensors for recognition of fruits and vegetables. The main idea is to detect distortions of electrical field between electrodes of sensors by measuring capacitance changes for these electrodes. Electrical field is strongly affected by relative permittivity of medium, which is several times larger for fruits and vegetables consisting mainly of water than for surrounding air, leaves and other low-mass non-conductive objects. This could help to develop electrical field sensing device with number of electrodes for detection of fruits or vegetables and determining their position thus serving as additional sensor in multi sensor system with optical camera or as stand alone device. The research covers both theoretical aspect of proposed approach and experimental evaluation of prototype device based on mixed signal controller MGC3130 originally intended for electrical field based gesture sensing periphery for consumer electronics. Main results show that in worst condition when an electrode is fully covered with a physical model of leaf 43% of signal value in comparison to sensor output without obstacle is still usable. Thus this type of sensors potentially can be an integral part of complex fruit or vegetable recognition system in robotized horticulture applications.