Robot workcell for transplanting of seedlings. Part II. End-effector development

K. C. Ting, G. A. Giacomelli, S. J. Shen, W. P. Kabala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The successful integration of a robot with seedling transplanting requires an operational end-effector. Two types of grippers were designed in this study for seedling picking, holding, and planting during robotic transplanting. They were called 'Swinging Needles' and 'Sliding Needles', respectively. The Sliding Needles gripper was found to be functionally superior to the Swinging Needles for seedling transplanting. Further study was done to incorporate a seedling sensing capability to the Sliding Needles gripper. A capacitive proximity sensor was selected and its sensing capability tested on plant materials. The sensor was found to have satisfactory performance in terms of detecting seedlings held by the gripper. The sensor and the gripper were then integrated to become a final end-effector design called 'Sliding Needles with Sensor'. A prototype of the final design version was tested. The gripper was adaptable to a wide range of seedling sizes and shapes. The sensor on the gripper assured that the growing flats were transplanted, with seedlings of satisfactory quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1017
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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