Soon we will see the days of Robots in and about our Apple Orchards.

Yes, you read that right. Robots, picking apples.


If you are anything like me, you grew up surrounded by orchards, from hearing the tractors move bins to hearing the different languages spoken from people of all different backgrounds.

Will all of that soon be ending though?


WSU Has invented a new Robotic Gripper for picking Apples.

Yes, it apparently Gently picks the apples off the trees.

"A robotic gripper developed by Washington State University researchers is able to gently grab the majority of apples out of a tree without damaging the fruit." - Source

How efficient it this device? I mean, Robot?

"Weighing about two-thirds of a pound, the gripper uses three cables to move 3D-printed hard plastic and silicone rubber-tipped fingers. The fingers have to be gentle enough that they don’t damage the apples but strong enough to pull the apple off the tree. At a cost of about $30 to produce, the gripper includes a switch to grasp the apple and let go. It was able to successfully grab more than 87.5% of the apples in an orchard without damaging them." - Source

Labor shortages were mentioned in the article I was reading in regard to this Robot.

While labor shortages are not ok for the Washington State Ag. industry, I wonder how cost effective this will be. Expensive to start? Cheaper?

This device/robot is being funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.

What will WSU researchers come up with next with this Apple Picker?

"The WSU team will next connect their light-weight gripper to a low-cost robot system that they are developing. Similar to inflatable tube-people often used in outdoor advertising at car dealerships, the robot arm is made of a soft fabric filled with air that is similar but stiffer than the car dealership version." - Source


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