A Salmon Arm firm is receiving government funds to aid the development of a mushroom-picking robot. (Pixabay image)

Salmon Arm firm receives funds to develop mushroom-picking robot

Technology Brewing Corporation is receiving $50,000 through the Agritech Innovation Challenge.

A Salmon Arm company’s agriculture technology project is one of three in the province receiving funding to help bring an innovative idea to reality.

According to a notice from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Technology Brewing Corporation, a Salmon Arm firm, is developing a vision-guided robot that can pick, trim and package mushrooms.

“This project could help get B.C. mushrooms to market quicker and help address the mushroom sector’s labour shortage,” the release from the ministry reads.

Work on the project will be assisted by $50,000 they will receive through the Agritech Innovation Challenge, a federally and provincially funded program. Technology Brewing and the other selected projects will also receive mentorship and market validation training through Innovate BC.

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The goal of the challenge is to find ways to increase the efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness of B.C.’s agriculture, food and seafood industries, while also bolstering the province’s tech sector with access to new customers and products that can be marketed globally.

“This funding will enable us to start helping B.C. farmers improve their harvesting efficiency using robotic automation. With a successful prototype, we will quickly progress to testing in an actual mushroom farm,” said Technology Brewing Corporation’s president and CEO Mike Boudreau.

“This is a very large and technically challenging project with many parts. It will not only benefit the mushroom industry, but help shine a light on B.C.’s high-tech sector as well.”

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According to their website, Technology Brewing’s projects include other applications of vision guided robotics to the food and food packaging industries. Examples include a more accurate cheese portioning and cutting machine and a robotic arm that can score the tops of loaves of bread before baking.

The other two projects supported by the Agritech Innovation Challenge are one researching ways to eradicate varroa mites from honey bee colonies using a non-toxic chemical and another aimed at creating a tool to help winemakers monitor their aging barrels.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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