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Develop a Miniature Sensor to Record Impacts during Blueberry Mechanical Harvest

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009272.(doi:10.13031/2013.32715)
Authors:   Pengcheng Yu, Changying Li, Glen Rains, Takoi Hamrita
Keywords:   Keywords: Accelerometer, Impact, Sensor, Blueberry, Mechanical harvest

Bruising caused by the impact damage can occur frequently during mechanical harvest process for highbush blueberries. The overall goal of this study is to develop a sensor prototype to quantitatively measure the impact forces occurred on individual berry fruit during the mechanical harvest process. This information can be used to reduce bruising of blueberries during mechanical harvest. The sensing system developed in this study has three essential components: the sensor, the interface box and the software program on computer. The round circuit board of sensor is less than one inch (19.4 mm). It includes three Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) accelerometers, one microcontroller along with other electronic components that have low power consumption. The sensor board and rechargeable battery are casted into a one inch (25.4 mm) sphere mold, using silicone rubber. The interface box serves as the intermediate communication platform to connect the sensor and the computer. The PC-software can acquire data via the RS232 communication and analyze data. The sensor was calibrated using centrifuge. The accuracy of the sensor output is -0.53% and 0.33% of the output span (500 g). The resolution of the output is 1.465 (g) per digital count, with precision error 0.63%. By simulating the berry fruits under actual field situations, the sensor prototype could be a useful tool for evaluating the blueberrys bruising damage during the mechanical harvest process.

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