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1. (WO2019005212) PROCÉDÉ ET APPAREIL DE TRI
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

CLAIMS

We claim:

1. A method of sorting comprising:

acquiring a multiplicity of synchronized image signals of individual objects of interest and defects from a plurality of image generating devices;

generating a multiplicity of fused sensor signals by combining the multiplicity of synchronized image signals of the image generating devices;

forming an image model comprising image signals previously acquired from the objects of interest and defects;

applying the image model to the multiplicity of fused sensor signals, and forming a resulting object presence and defect signals;

identifying individual objects of interest with the respective object presence and defect image signals;

determining a spatial orientation and location of the objects of interest in each of the image signals;

detecting defects within the object presence and defect signals by comparing defect aspects relative to object aspects, to object images formed of the object presence and defect image signals; and

removing the objects of interest having defects from the product stream.

2. A method as claimed in claim 1 , and wherein the synchronized image signals represent individual objects of interest such as agricultural products traveling in a product stream, and which have characteristics, and aspects, which are deemed

acceptable for further processing, and characteristics, and aspects, which are deemed unacceptable, for further processing.

3. A method as claimed in claim 1 , and wherein the synchronized image signals are formed by a selective synchronization of the image generating devices, and by utilizing a known position, orientation, and an operational response of the respective image generating devices so as to allow the generation of an accurate spatial resolution of each of the objects of interest travelling in the product stream, and to further align the signal features of each of the image signals.

4. A method as claimed in claim 1 , and wherein the image model is formed from a methodology which includes previously acquiring a multiplicity of image signals from known acceptable and unacceptable objects of interest such as agricultural products, and the like.

5. A method as claimed in claim 1 , and wherein the step of identifying individual objects of interest further includes the step of identifying one or more pixel groups in each of the object presence, and defect image signals, and which identify the objects of interest or defects.

6. A method as claimed in claim 1 , and wherein the step of determining the spatial orientation and location of the respective objects of interest further comprises developing a prior source of knowledge of object aspects which is applied to object images, and which are formed of the object presence and defect signals.

7. A method as claimed in claim 1, and wherein the step of detecting unacceptable agricultural products or defects further comprises developing a prior source of knowledge of defect aspects, relative to object aspects to a multiplicity of object images formed of the object presence, and defect image signals.

8. A method as claimed in claim 1 , and before the step of acquiring the multiplicity of synchronized image signals, the method further comprises providing a product stream of individual objects of interest, such as agricultural products having both acceptable agricultural products, and unacceptable products which must be removed from the product stream; and passing the product stream having both the acceptable agricultural products, and the unacceptable agricultural products through an inspection station.

9. A method as claimed in claim 8, and wherein the method further comprises providing a first controller which predicts the presence of the objects of interest, and defects, in the fused sensor signals, and which further applies the image model to at least some of the multiplicity of fused sensor signals.

10. A method as claimed in claim 9, and wherein the method further comprises providing a second controller which identifies individual objects of interest and defects in the object presence and defect image signals; determines the spatial orientation of the identified objects of interest and defects travelling in the product stream; identifies the defect in the defect image signal; identifies the location of the defect in the defect image signal; and generates an unacceptable agricultural product image signal.

11. A method as claimed in claim 10, and further comprising:

positioning a defect removal station downstream of the inspection station and along a path of travel of the product stream;

providing an ejector, and positioning the ejector in the defect removal station, and which is effective, when made operational, to remove the unacceptable agricultural products from the product stream passing by the defect removal station; and providing a third controller which is controllably coupled with, and renders operational the ejector, and wherein the third controller is coupled in signal receiving relation relative to the unacceptable agricultural product image signal which is generated by the second controller, and which further renders the ejector operational to remove the unacceptable agricultural products from the product stream passing by the defect removal station.

12. A method of sorting, comprising:

acquiring a multiplicity of synchronized image and sensor signals, each having discreet signal features, from a plurality of image generating devices and sensors, and wherein the synchronized image and sensor signals represent individual objects of interest such as agricultural products which are traveling in a product stream, and which have characteristics, and aspects which are deemed acceptable for further processing, and characteristics and aspects which are deemed a defect, and unacceptable, for further processing;

generating a multiplicity of fused sensor signals by combining the multiplicity of synchronized image and sensor signals by a selective synchronization of the image generating devices and sensors, and by utilizing a known position, orientation, and an operational response of the respective image generating devices and sensors so as to allow the generation of an accurate spatial resolution of each of the objects of interest products travelling in the product stream, and to further align the signal features of each of the image and sensor signals;

predicting the presence of the objects of interest, and possible defects in the fused sensor signals by applying an image model previously formed from a multiplicity of image signals which were acquired from the objects of interest, and the defects, to the multiplicity of fused sensor signals so as to facilitate the formation of a resulting object presence image signal; and a defect image signal;

identifying the individual objects of interest with the object presence, and defect image signals, by identifying one or more of a group of pixels in each of the object presence, and defect image signals;

determining a spatial orientation of the objects of interest travelling in the product stream by applying a prior source of knowledge of the object aspects to a multiplicity of object images which are formed of the object presence, and defect image signals;

detecting defects within unacceptable objects of interest by applying a prior source of knowledge of defect aspects relative to object aspects, to the object images formed of the object presence, and defect signals;

identifying the location of the unacceptable objects of interest having defects in the object image signals; and

removing the unacceptable objects of interest having defects from the product stream.

13. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the discreet signal features of the multiplicity of synchronized image signals are selected from the group of image signals provided by a hyperspectral or multispectral imager and/or scanner.

14. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the synchronized image signals are formed by a methodology which includes a step of spatially registering the respective image signals.

15. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the aspects and characteristics of the objects of interest which are deemed acceptable for further processing are selected from individual products having known acceptable qualities.

16. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the aspects and characteristics of the objects of interest which are deemed unacceptable for further processing are selected from individual products having known unacceptable qualities.

17. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the aligning of the signal features of each of the synchronized image signals so as to form, at least in part, the multiplicity of fused sensor signals comprises a partial registration of the image signals with each other, and with an ejector controller.

18. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the image model is formed by a methodology which includes a step of utilizing a standard classification algorithm.

19. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the prior source of knowledge of the object aspects which is applied to the multiplicity of object images, and which are used to determine the spatial orientation of the identified objects of interest is formed by the methodology which comprises a step of conducting an object shape analysis; and conducting an object aspect measurement.

20. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the prior source of knowledge of the defect aspects, and which is applied to the multiplicity of object images, is formed by the methodology which comprises a step of qualifying unacceptable pixel groups found in the object images, with object regions identified in the object aspects.

21. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the step or removing the unacceptable objects of interest from the product stream further comprises a step of

removing an unacceptable portion of an object of interest from a remaining acceptable portion of the same object of interest.

22. A method as claimed in claim 12, and before the step of acquiring the multiplicity of synchronized image signals, the method further comprises providing a product stream of individual objects of interest which have the character and aspects of both acceptable and unacceptable objects of interest; and passing the product stream having both the acceptable and unacceptable objects of interest through an inspection station.

23. A method as claimed in claim 12, and wherein the method further comprises providing a first controller which predicts the presence of the objects of interest, and defects in the fused sensor signals, and which further applies the image model to the multiplicity of fused sensor signals.

24. A method as claimed in claim 23, and wherein the method further comprises providing a second controller which identifies individual objects of interest and defects travelling in the product stream; determines the spatial orientation of the identified individual objects of interest travelling in the product stream; detects the objects of interest; identifies the location of the defects in the object presence and defect image signals; and generates a signal indicating the presence and location of the defect in the production stream.

25. A method as claimed in claim 24, and further comprising:

providing a defect removal station, and positioning the defect removal station downstream of the inspection station;

providing an ejector, and positioning the ejector in the defect removal station, and which is effective, when made operational, to remove the unacceptable objects of interest from the product stream; and

providing a third controller which is controllably coupled with, and renders operational the ejector, and wherein the third controller is coupled in defect signal receiving relation relative to the second controller, and which further renders the ejector operational to remove the unacceptable objects of interest from the product stream.