Mitch pitches the business case for tomat.io and we are selected as one of the winners! We would like to sincerely thank the Esch Foundation for its generous support of our project. While completing our prototype, the entire team gained valuable skills in market research, technical development and client communication.
The Winter 2020 term marks tomat.io participating in the Concept 5K finals for a second time in a row, with Andrew delivering a video pitch this term. The team is proud in the improvements that were made in the business plan and presentation!
Due to COVID-19, the Mechatronics symposium is cancelled last-minute. Nevertheless, the tomat.io team gathers to record a final video and showcase our project to our professors. Overall, the team is very proud of being able to implement vision, prototype an end-effector, and integrate it all with a manipulator.
As Brad and Andrew were working in Robohub on campus at the University of Waterloo, CTV featured the lab and recorded a special on Robohub. This video offers great insight into the various projects going on in Robohub. Brad and Andrew can be seen on the video around time 8:40.
A huge accomplishment for the entire team! Following several days of integration testing, debugging and squishing tomatoes, the team had its first successful end to end run. Defining a bounding box for allowable robot positions, and improved force feedback in the grippers had huge impacts.
Larger grippers with a greater surface area were designed and manufactured to grasp tomatoes of all sizes. This improvement had the additional bonus of enhanced quality of force feedback so tomatoes will not be damaged during harvesting.
After weeks of progress on our computer vision, Mitch's revised algorithm was able to detect a "tomato" on our testing setup in Robohub.
After spending several days finalizing electronics and manufacturing, the End Effector was ready to be tested. Without much insight into how much force would be required to cut through a vine, Adam's design worked perfectly and the actuators cut the vine with ease.
After weeks of delays due international shipping issues, the original PCB arrived in Waterloo. Unfortunately the design has since changed and these boards will no longer be used. The board used on our final prototype will be the one manufactured at the University of Waterloo.
Today was the first day attaching our End Effector to the Kinova Gen 3 arm. Adam's design mounted on the arm perfectly the first time!
Andrew completed the design and manufacturing for all of the electronics. The board was printed in Engineering 5 building at the University of Waterloo.
Mitch has taken the lead on manufacturing the End Effector using the Formlabs Form 2 printer with Grey Pro resin. The End Effector now consists of 8 independently printed parts and 6 machined parts.
Adam continues to improve the design of the gripper. It now weighs 40% less than the original design and is equipped with Force Sensitive Resistors in the gripper claws for realtime feedback when grabbing tomatoes.
Progress has resumed after taking a break to spend time with friends and family over the holidays. Adam released a new design moving away from the pneumatic suction to hold the tomatoes and to actuated grippers.
The team visited partnering greenhouse, Elmiras Own, to collect a sample of >150 color and depth photos. This will be used as the greenhouse training set for our computer vision models. Our computer vision models will be developed on the greenhouse training set, and a custom mock rig set, simultaneously.
Mitch completed the first iteration of the tomato detection model. K means clustering and circle detection algorithms have gave the most promising results thus far.
Brad pitched at the finals of the Velocity Concept 5k finals. Valuable connections were made and the market research and idea validation will help the team moving forward.
Adam has been working tirelessly to complete the design of the first prototype for our custom End Effector. The End Effector will be mounted on the end of a Kinova Gen3. tomat.io has partnered with Robohub at the University of Waterloo for access to the arm for the foreseeable future!
Brad pitched the future of tomat.io to a collection of experienced judges in the Velocity Concept 5K semi-finals. Of 15 competing teams, tomat.io was one of 5 to move on to the finals, stay tuned for the results!
A road trip was taken to Elmiras Own to determine what the current process looks like for harvesting tomatoes in greenhouses. The manager Stewart spend over 3 hours with the team answering questions and showing the team industry best practices.
The entire team visited Vineland research center to get scoping advice. Progress was made towards scoping the project to be complete by March of 2020.
More than 70% of farmers in North America failed to meet hiring expectations in 2018 due to labour shortages.
Adam can be relied on for his outgoing personality and his great sense of humor. He uses his industry experience from Apple, North and ATS Automation as the lead mechanical designer.
Andrew brings a determined work ethic to the team while asking the tough questions to steer the team in the right direction. He brings skills from Tesla, Bendix and Ontario Drive & Gear to head the electrical and firmware divisions.
To allow this product come to life, we have worked with many amazing partners throughout our journey.
Actuonix has provided the team with linear actuators for use on our custom End Effector.
Robotshop has generously supported with sponsorship of electronic components.
Elmira's own has provided industry advice and farming expertise.
Robohub based out of the University of Waterloo has donated working space, robotics expertise and a Kinova Gen3 arm.
Vineland Research and Innovation Center has provided scoping advice and technical guidance.
Kinova is providing technical assistance as we integrate our End Effector on their robotic arm.
Tomat.io is currently located in RoboHub in Engineering 7 building at the University of Waterloo.
Please see the About page for our Linkedin profiles. For immediate inquiries please contact Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org.