Central Object Segmentation by Deep Learning to Continuously Monitor Fruit Growth through RGB Images

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Oct 21;21(21):6999. doi: 10.3390/s21216999.


Monitoring fruit growth is useful when estimating final yields in advance and predicting optimum harvest times. However, observing fruit all day at the farm via RGB images is not an easy task because the light conditions are constantly changing. In this paper, we present CROP (Central Roundish Object Painter). The method involves image segmentation by deep learning, and the architecture of the neural network is a deeper version of U-Net. CROP identifies different types of central roundish fruit in an RGB image in varied light conditions, and creates a corresponding mask. Counting the mask pixels gives the relative two-dimensional size of the fruit, and in this way, time-series images may provide a non-contact means of automatically monitoring fruit growth. Although our measurement unit is different from the traditional one (length), we believe that shape identification potentially provides more information. Interestingly, CROP can have a more general use, working even for some other roundish objects. For this reason, we hope that CROP and our methodology yield big data to promote scientific advancements in horticultural science and other fields.

Keywords: RGB images; U-Net; central object; deep learning; fruit; growth monitor; image segmentation; pear.

MeSH terms

  • Deep Learning*
  • Fruit
  • Neural Networks, Computer