Button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) harvesting mainly relies on costly manpower, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Robotic harvesting is an alternative method to address this challenge. In this study, a robotic mushroom picking mechanism was designed, including a picking end-effector based on a bending motion, a four degree-of-freedom (DoF) positioning end-effector for moving the picking end-effector, a mushroom stipe trimming end-effector, and an electropneumatic control system. A laboratory-scale prototype was fabricated to validate the performance of the mechanism. Bruise tests on the mushroom caps were also conducted to analyze the influence of air pressure and acting time of the suction cup on bruise level. The test results showed that the picking end-effector was successfully positioned to the target locations. The success rate of the picking end-effector was 90% at first pick and increased to 94.2% after second pick. The main reason for the failures was inclined growing condition of those mushrooms, resulting in difficulties in engaging the mushroom cap with the suction cup facing straight downward. The trimming end-effector achieved a success rate of 97% overall. The bruise tests indicated that the air pressure was the main factor affecting the bruise level, compared to the suction cup acting time, and an optimized suction cup may help to alleviate the bruise damage. The laboratory test results indicated that the developed picking mechanism has potential to be implemented in automatic mushroom harvesting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Biomedical Engineering
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Soil Science