HOKUTO introduces AI robots for shiitake mushroom cultivation

HOKUTO, a major mushroom producer from Japan, has introduced a robot equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) to grow shiitake mushrooms. Six units were set up at the Komoro Mushroom Center (Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture) for “bud-picking” to sort out the good-looking ones.

A sample of good looking Shiitake mushrooms. Photo: hokto-kinoko.co.jp

Using big data from the cultivation process helps select good quality shiitake mushrooms. The company aims to save labor and improve production efficiency by almost automating work that tends to rely on human labor.

The newly developed 3D vision sprout plucking robot sorts shiitake mushrooms in just a few dozen seconds. In the past, it used to take 30 employees to pick the buds, and each operation took about two minutes per person. Employees only need to assist the robot, and it only takes six people to respond.

Using big data for sorting mushrooms

Using the robot’s sensors and camera, the size, shape, and color of the robot are made into 3D images, and the data accumulated in the past is checked to extract the best quality images. After sorting, they cut off any unwanted buds with a blade, knowing exactly where the shiitake mushrooms are.

The data acquired during bud picking will also be applied in the growing process, to analyze the conditions under which good quality shiitake mushrooms are grown and devise ways of lighting and air flow in the growing room. In the future, the company hopes to develop a system that automatically optimizes the entire plant.

A delicious Hokuto shiitake mushroom recipe
Article Source: