UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A novel camera system using active lighting devised by Penn State researchers may be a crucial step in developing machine vision systems that allow robotic devices to more clearly "see" the agricultural targets with which they will react.
The system — using “over-current driven” LED lights to produce a powerful flash capable of firing multiple times a second — creates reliable daytime imaging, according to team leader Daeun Choi, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The approach overcomes variable lighting and color inconsistencies due to sunlight, she explained, and largely eliminates motion blur that occurs due to vehicle movement and vibrations from ground terrain.
“In the future, this system or one like it will likely be used to guide mechanisms that independently perform labor-intensive tasks such as pruning apple trees, estimating fruit yield, fruit thinning and mushroom picking,” Choi said. “The innovative aspect of this research was that the current drawn by the LED lights was increased by a factor of six times its normal rating, resulting in increased illuminance.”