Vision and data analysis team up to check seedlings
At Goldsmith Seeds (Gilroy, CA), monitoring the quality of leaf size, color, and shape of seedlings is helping researchers define quality. To automate this process, GTFS (Santa Rosa, CA) used a color camera and frame grabber to digitize images into a Pentium host computer. Using the LabView graphical programming interface from National Instruments (Austin, TX), GTFS created an operator interface for setting the parameters of the application, developing a database of configuration files for different seedlings and for displaying the results.
Imaq Vision, also from National Instruments, is used for image capture, analysis, and display functions. Using the analysis functions in the Imaq library, the system first thresholds images, isolating pixels that belong to a certain color range. Binary morphological functions are then performed on the leaves to isolate them. Operators make decisions, based on evaluating the best imaging sequences on how to restore the full leaf area of the seedlings. From a set-up menu, sequences can be edited by combining functions presented in a list box, along with their appropriate parameters, and applying them to sample images. "A benefit of using LabView for such an application is that other instrument-based systems, such as motorized conveyer belts, can be integrated into the system, if required," says Ann Menendez, president of GTFS.