Patent for robot milking application issued
|Automated and voluntary milking in dairy farms is a rapidly expanding market. The automated process not only frees up valuable time for the farmer, but also reduces the stress level of the cow to encourage a higher yield of milk. There are only a select few companies in the world who specialize in these technologies because the livestock industry is a very difficult and demanding application of machine vision and robot inspection.|
Patent 7,490,576 B2 comprises details on how a light projection source and a camera having two dimensional array of pixels, each of which is capable of returning time of flight information as well as intensity. This system has the advantage of being compact, light, and not subject to obstruction limitations of other technologies used in robot milking applications.
They have applied the time of flight technology to several sensors including their Tracker 4000 sensor, a technologically advanced device that will create significant improvements to yield performance and farm productivity, livestock well-being, enhance reliability, increased speed of farm operations and profitability, and improve product quality in the milking process. A short video demonstrating the Tracker 4000 sensor guiding a robotic milking machine to attach suction cups onto a cow’s teats is shown below.