Australian initiative seeks new technologies for stone fruit by 2022


Agriculture Victoria researchers want to learn how new sensor technology can help summer fruit growers manage quality, such as the maturity scanner from Rubens Technologies. (Image courtesy of Agriculture Victoria.)

Hand-held and vehicle-mounted sensors 

Rubens Technologies of Melbourne developed handheld, battery-operated sensors that resemble a short wand with a funnel-like cup on one end. After placing the cup over a piece of fruit, the device shines light on it and captures light that is reflected from the fruit’s surface, as well as fluorescence emitted from pigments that make up the skin color, said Daniel Pelliccia, the company’s founder and CEO. To make use of the reflectance and fluorescence data, the researchers compare the data to known quality parameters they have collected the old-fashioned, destructive way, and then they essentially teach the algorithms which measurement range correlates to which parameter. 

“The device itself is very simple,” Pelliccia said. “It has just one button to initiate the scan, and then there is a smartphone app that takes care of collecting the data and then returning the values of interest for the user. So, a grower can scan a fruit and, in real time, get a report on their smartphone with all of the commercial quality parameters they are interested in.”

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