RoBUTCHER unveils its Smart Knife for Robotic Meat Cutting at IEEE Sensors 2021 Conference

30. november 2021

IEEE Sensors is one of the most prestigious international conferences in the area of sensors, and this year on the 3rd of November 2021 the RoBUTCHER has proudly unveiled its smart knife invention, specifically designed for robotic meat cutting. At a dedicated session on microwave sensors for industrial and commercial applications, Prof. Alex Mason has presented a paper entitled “Smart Knife for Robotic Meat Cutting”.

Automation is a key enabling technology for efficiency improvement in the meat industry. Biological materials represent some of the most challenging work objects for robotics today, thus it follows that novel smart sensors are required for the systems to offer appropriate functionality. This paper presented the development of a novel smart knife based on radio and microwave-frequency sensing, which is suitable for automatic robotised cutting tasks. The smart knife uses electromagnetic waves, specifically in the radio- and microwave range, to provide information regarding the cutting status of a robotic arm. The use of radio- and microwave also enabled the cutting tool and sensor elements to be one and the same, reducing the challenges associated with hygienic design, complexity of construction, and robustness. Partial-least-square regression and neural network prediction models are shown to determine contact of the knife with a work object and depth of cut. Smart knife was designed specifically with the pork processing industry in mind, but it could be modified for use in other meat or food sectors, or even for surgical applications.

The 2021 IEEE Sensors conference was virtual; the recordings of all the presentations are available to all registered attendees. Since then, Prof. Alex Mason’s lecture was viewed over 100 times, and the interest is expected to grow once the conference proceedings become available to a wider audience via the IEEE Explore platform.

NMBU’s RoBUTCHER team is continuing to test the smart knife in real settings on whole carcasses. Further achievements will be published soon.

Note, the full article is currently under processing. The citation information is A. Mason, D. Romanov, L. E. Cordova-Lopez and O. Korostynska, “Smart Knife for Robotic Meat Cutting”, IEEE Sensors 2021.