+
upworthy
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.


Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

Keep ReadingShow less
Community

Man uses social media to teach others ASL so kids don't experience what he did as a child

Every child should be able to communicate in a way that works best for them.

Man teaches people ASL so no child experiences what he did

People start communicating from the moment they enter the world usually through cries, faces, grunts and squeals. Once infants move into the toddler phase the combine all of their previous communication skills with pointing and saying a few frequently used words like "milk," "mama," "dada" and "eat."

Children who are born without the ability to hear often still go through those same stages with the exception of their frequently used words being in sign language. But not all hearing parents know sign language, which can stunt the language skills of their non-hearing child. Ronnie McKenzie is an American Sign Language advocate that uses social media to teach others how to sign so deaf and nonverbal kids don't feel left out.

"But seriously i felt so isolated 50% of my life especially being outside of school i had NONE to sign ASL with. Imagine being restricted from your own language," McKenzie writes in his caption.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Bus driver comes to the rescue for boy who didn't have an outfit for school's Pajamas Day

“It hurt me so bad…I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Representative Image from Canva

One thoughtful act can completely turn someone's day around.

On the morning just before Valentine’s Day, school bus driver Larry Farrish Jr. noticed something amiss with Levi, one of his first grade passengers, on route to Engelhard Elementary, part of Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky.

On any other day, the boy would greet Farrish with a smile and a wave. But today, nothing. Levi sat down by himself, eyes downcast, no shining grin to be seen. Farrish knew something was up, and decided to inquire.

With a “face full of tears,” as described on the JCPS website, Levi told Farrish that today was “Pajama Day” at school, but he didn’t have any pajamas to wear for the special occasion.
Keep ReadingShow less
via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

There are over 30 years between these amazing before-and-after photos.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile."

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Before and after photos separated by 30 years.


Chris Porsz was tired of studying sociology.

As a university student in the 1970s, he found the talk of economics and statistics completely mind-numbing. So instead, he says, he roamed the streets of his hometown of Peterborough, England, with a camera in hand, snapping pictures of the people he met and listening to their stories. To him, it was a far better way to understand the world.

He always looked for the most eccentric people he could find, anyone who stood out from the crowd. Sometimes he'd snap a single picture of that person and walk away. Other times he'd have lengthy conversations with these strangers.

Keep ReadingShow less