Agtech companies around the world are trying to be the first to commercialize tree-based pre-harvest fruit technologies. Meanwhile, award-winning fruit tech startup Hectre has already solved much of the problem.
Hectre, the fruit technology company from New Zealand, has developed a computer vision AI solution that can size fruit, accurately and in seconds, without any expensive equipment.
Matty Blomfield, CEO and co-founder of Hectre, says the idea was born out of discussions with valued Hectre customer and Apple innovator, Rockit Global. “Rockit is very innovation driven.”
Aware of the time it takes to perform traditional manual pre-harvest estimates, the small sample sizes and the flow to the negative impacts of this manual process, Blomfield says Rockit was looking for a better way.
“Rockit uses Specter – Hectre’s award-winning computer vision fruit sizing app that runs right on an iPad or iPhone – for post-harvest size and color estimates and wanted to know if there was a way to use our Specter technology on fruit,” says Blomfield. “Our team built and trained a new Specter computer vision model for working with small crates and small fruits.”
Specter for Fruitlets customers collect fruit in a small crate, take a photo on iPad or iPhone, and Specter detects and sizes a large sample of fruit, delivering sizing results in seconds. No manual caliper or sizing ring calculations are required, saving a lot of time.
Caption: Specter for Fruitlets provides pre-harvest crop size estimation data in seconds, all from a standard iPhone or iPad.
Because the technology is so simple and fast, fast samples can be captured across blocks and varieties over time. Weekly samples greatly improve crop representation by providing time-based maturity indicators for savvy growers looking to make accurate predictions in years to come.
Hectre’s Post-Harvest Spectrum technology is a popular solution for growers and packers looking for mobile, fast and accurate early fruit grading solutions. Customers include fruit giants Washington Fruit & Produce, First Fresh NZ, Borton Fruit, Kershaw and Roche, to name a few. Specter is now used in 11 countries around the world. The Specter post-harvest application detects approximately 125 pieces of fruit from the top layer of the bin, sizes them and provides a fruit size estimation chart in seconds.
Growers can get sizing data as soon as the first bin of fruit is picked, and packers can streamline their storage, packing and sales schedules, reducing costs and securing high-value orders.
“The ease of use built into Specter resonates with the industry, and Specter’s speed, accuracy and wide capacity are unmatched, making it one of the fastest and most portable fruit grading solutions. The addition of color estimation, in all lighting conditions, further adds to the popularity of Spectre,” says Blomfield.
Blomfield adds, “Our Smart Simplicity approach puts user simplicity first. If we can take a complex problem like estimating crop size and solve a key issue with an easy-to-use, proven solution, we know we’re putting value in the hands of growers.