HomeScienceStudents from Merida develop a prototype for seed detection

Students from Merida develop a prototype for seed detection

The prototype, currently in the initial stage, aims to become an automated system that goes hand in hand with agricultural technology.

The team from the Precision Agriculture and Green Economies Laboratory of the IVIC Tropical Agriculture Center – Mérida, dared to innovate with the project “Design and construction of an automated prototype for the detection and precise positioning of seeds“, highlighted the Ministry of Science and Technology in Press release.

The prototype was created by two students from the School of Electrical Engineering of said Faculty of the University of Los Andes (ULA): Miguel Godoy and Luis Bellandi. The project mentors were Dr. Carlos Leal from the Center for Tropical Agriculture and engineer Dirxon Muñoz.

In this regard, Leal explained that the initiative is in its initial stage. The prototype aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a real-time image analysis system.

Likewise, it should be noted that these types of projects are environmentally friendly, as they reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact.

How does the prototype work?

The universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) protocol allows, through communication with a webcam, to perform image analysis.

“The process includes image segmentation through a binarization threshold using the Otsu method,” says the project supervisor. And he adds: “This method determines an optimal threshold based on the maximum variance between the background and the object. Thus, the precise spatial location of the seed under study is achieved and its geometric information is obtained. Additionally, the angle of inclination of the semimajor axis with respect to the horizontal of the camera is determined. This angle is corrected with a maximum allowable error of ±2°. The seed is then taken by suction by a vacuum motor and positioned with a maximum allowable error of ±1 mm. The main impact of this first prototype is to demonstrate the feasibility of the methodology used and successfully meet the stated objectives,” explains the expert.

The project shows that agricultural technology is constantly evolving, offering new solutions to face the current and future challenges of agriculture.

This innovation project is part of the research and development activities of the Precision Agriculture and Green Economies Laboratory, and is framed within the lines of research in automation and control systems.

“The prototype lays the foundation for the creation of a new version, which can place multiple seeds in a germination tray and a system can be developed with two movements (degrees of freedom) that allows the seeds to be located precisely,” said Leal. .

future vision

The use of the short-term prototype is aimed at the development of an automation and control system applied to agricultural systems, which implies the implementation of precision agriculture techniques and the creation of low-cost systems; while in the medium term, they seek to develop a system applicable in the field that allows agricultural producers to optimize their production.

“The precise position of the seed at the time of sowing is a crucial factor for its germination and development. By achieving uniform germination, seeds are more likely to emerge at the same time, making crop management easier and ensuring homogeneous seedling growth. Additionally, the position of the seed affects its access to resources such as sunlight, nutrients and water, and prevents physical damage during the germination process. Therefore, it is essential to carefully consider where and how the seeds are placed, hence this long-term prototype can contribute significantly to crop performance, taking into account that a greater probability of success in germination and establishment is guaranteed. of healthy plants.

Leal also specified that producers' access to these technologies can be achieved through the IVIC Technology Center, which is why this project has the potential to positively impact agriculture by offering more efficient and precise solutions for planting and development. of the seeds.

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