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Science

People are baffled over this machine that sorts out green tomatoes in a mere second

The automated sorter technology is fascinating, as is watching it work in slow motion.

tomato sorting machine

An automated green tomato sorting machine is mesmerizing in slow motion.

For thousands of years, people around the world have been honing the art of agriculture. For the vast majority of human history, people planted and harvested and sorted produce largely by hand, gradually developing tools and machines over time that would make farming more efficient.

Many crops still have to be harvested and/or sorted by hand, but thanks to a rather mind-blowing machine, tomatoes aren't one of them. A machine that harvests tomatoes saves a ton of time and labor, but as tomatoes don't all ripen at the same time, pulling up an entire tomato plant results in a good number of green ones getting into the mix.

One solution to this problem would be to have the tomatoes transported down a conveyor belt in a factory while workers spot and remove the green ones by hand. However, an automated green tomato sorter does it right in the field as the tomatoes are being harvested, and a whole lot faster than any person ever could.


How many humans would it take to separate 32 green tomatoes from red ones in a single second? Um, a lot.

We'll get to the technology of how it works in a minute, but first you have to see the sorter work in slow motion. The machine is so fast you can't even really see what it's doing until you slow it down, but when you do, the wow factor is awesome. There are occasional misses, of course, but for how fast it's going, the accuracy is remarkable—and impressive to watch.

As James Vincent put it in The Verge, "It’s sorting tomatoes, but it looks like the fingers of God flicking damned souls straight into hell." Check this out:

So many immediate questions:

What?!?

How?!?

How does it know which tomatoes are green?

How does it work so precisely and freakishly fast to flick them away?

Am I the only one with a sudden urge to play Fruit Ninja?

The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation dove into a few of those questions with Don Douglas, president of Weco, a company that builds the optical technology behind the sorter. Douglas explained that light is used to create a reflection off the tomatoes and a sensor connected to software determines which tomatoes are green using that reflection.

It's actually tech that's been used for decades, but it's obviously been perfected and optimized over the years. Watch the machine at work and hear Douglas explain how it does what it does:

It's not always better to have machines do work humans can do, and there's certainly plenty of reason to be concerned about human labor being replaced by machines. But when that labor is back-breaking and tedious, technology can be a big help. Some inventions are also such prime examples of human innovation and ingenuity, you just have to marvel at them—even if they're just sorting green tomatoes from red ones.


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Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

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Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



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Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

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Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

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He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

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Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

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Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

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In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

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