Robots have been used for numerous different tasks that include, painting to surgery. Researchers are now trying to bring them into your kitchen. Georgia Tech Research Institute developed a robot to debone a chicken.
Known as the Intelligent Cutting and Deboning System, the project is led by Gary McMurray, chief of GTRI’s Food Processing Technology Division.
The prototype Intelligent Cutting and Deboning System has a built-in 3D vision system in order to help it cut and debone a chicken. The robot uses collected data and custom algorithms to help reduce bone fragments and increase yield on birds.
GTRI research engineer Michael Matthews explained, “Our statistics research shows that our external measurements correlate very well to the internal structure of the birds, and therefore will transition to ideal cutting paths. In our prototype device, everything is registered to calibrated reference frames, allowing us to handle all cut geometries and to precisely align the bird and the cutting robot. Being able to test all possible cut geometries should enable us to design a smaller and more simplified final system.”Gary McMurray said in a statement, “Each bird is unique in its size and shape. So we have developed the sensing and actuation needed to allow an automated deboning system to adapt to the individual bird, as opposed to forcing the bird to conform to the machine.”
So how does this robot work in deboning a chicken. The press release from GTRI stated, “The prototype uses a fixed two-degree-of-freedom cutting robot for making simple planar cuts. The bird is mounted on a six-degree-of-freedom robot arm that allows alignment of the bird and cutting robot to any desired position. The robot arm places the bird under the vision system, and then it moves the bird with respect to the cutting robot.”
Research engineer Ai-Ping Hu said there is still some fine tuning that needs to be adjusted. For instance, the robot being able to tell the difference between meat, tendon, ligaments and bone.
Gary McMurray added, “There are some very major factors in play in this project. Our automated deboning technology can promote food safety, since bone chips are a hazard in boneless breast fillets. But it can also increase yield, which is significant because every 1 percent loss of breast meat represents about $2.5 million to each of Georgia’s 20 poultry processing plants.”
The research is funded by the state of Georgia through the Agricultural Technology Research Program at GTRI.
Image credits: Georgia Tech