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Creating an output
Kris Dummett from United Kingdom  [2 posts]
4 years
I am a 2nd year University student studying Engineering.

I have been tasked with designing and building an automated harvesting machine which will be mounted to the back of a tractor. it will have to differentiate between yellow tennis balls and orange golf balls which are laid out randomly every meter on the ground. The machine is not allowed to differentiate via physical interaction it must be electronically based. The machine must then pick up only the tennis balls once they have been 'found' and the golf balls are to be left untouched. I have the idea of using a webcam and laptop using this software in order to find only the yellow tennis balls and somehow create an output signal that can be sent to a picaxe microcontroller to activate an electric linear actuator to pick up the ball.

Any advice, guidance or methods of executing this that can be suggested will be highly appreciated.
Steven Gentner from United States  [1370 posts] 4 years
Kris,

Start with building a test environment (can be approximate), get both balls and simulate what the machine would do by hand while taking some pictures.

This will get you started thinking about all the issues and also give you some images to work with. Any assumptions you make about how the system may work can often be wrong so getting a prototype test system working ASAP is always recommended.

I would suspect that the vision part if probably one of the easier parts of this project. The tricker parts would be to get the capture mechanism for individual balls to work reliably.

If you post example images, we can help identify the balls and provide a pixel coordinate that would then have to be translated into the machines coordinate system in order to instruct the device which ball to pickup.

Sounds like a fun project!

STeven.

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