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Our prototype involves two parts:

We use a webcam and computer vision (Processing) to detect flower locations, so we can redirect the pollinator. When the color of the flower for a specific plant is identified, the software reads the pixels of that color (within a certain RGB threshold) and groups them into flowers. Because we are working with tomato plants, we are identifying yellow against the green leaves and other background noise around the flowers.

Separately, we created a pollinator. When a bee lands, it vibrates its wing muscles, nudging the pollen from the male anthers to the female stigma of the flower, pollinating the flower. This is self-pollination, which doesn’t work for all flowers, but works especially well with tomato plants. The pollinator is a soft sphere containing a vibrating motor and simple circuit that, when a flower is detected, vibrates for a small, set amount of time. This simulates the vibration of a bee’s wings, shaking the pollen loose and pollinating the flower.

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