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3D vision helps robot debone poultry

May 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, May 31 (UPI) -- A robot with advanced imaging technology that automatically debones chicken could help boost agricultural production and improve safety, U.S. researchers say.

Food processing experts at the Georgia Tech Research Institute said their Intelligent Cutting and Deboning System employs a 3-D vision system that determines where to cut a particular bird, automatically making precision cuts to optimize yield while reducing the risk of bone fragments in the finished product.

"Each bird is unique in its size and shape," Gary McMurray of GTRI's Food Processing Technology Division said in a Georgia Tech release Tuesday.

"So we have developed the sensing and actuation needed to allow an automated deboning system to adapt to the individual bird, as opposed to forcing the bird to conform to the machine."

The system makes 3-D measurements of various location points on the outside of the bird, using them as inputs for custom algorithms to define a proper cut by estimating the positions of internal structures such as bones and ligaments.

"Our statistics research shows that our external measurements correlate very well to the internal structure of the birds, and therefore will transition to ideal cutting paths," researcher Michael Matthews said.

The research is funded by the state of Georgia, where poultry is the top agricultural product.

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