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TC AgRA – Webinar 5 – Robotic Leaf Probing Via Segmentation of Range Data Into Surface Patches

Babette Dellen studied physics in Cologne and received her PhD in physics from the Washington University in St. Louis, where she investigated mechanisms of biological motion processing in mammals and birds. At a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Goettingen, she worked mainly in computer vision. She is now a Ramon y Cajal fellow at the Institute de Robotica i Informatica in Barcelona. Her research focus is computer vision for applications in robotics.


We present a novel method for the robotized probing of plant leaves using Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors. Plant images are segmented into surface patches by combining a segmentation of the infrared intensity image, provided by the ToF camera, with quadratic surface fitting using ToF depth data. Leaf models are fitted to the boundaries of the segments and used to determine probing points and to evaluate the suitability of leaves for being sampled. The robustness of the approach is evaluated by repeatedly placing an especially adapted, robot-mounted spad meter on the probing points which are extracted in an automatic manner. The number of successful chlorophyll measurements is counted, and the total time for processing the visual data and probing the plant with the robot is measured for each trial. In case of failure, the underlying causes are determined and reported, allowing a better assessment of the applicability of the method in real scenarios.


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