Cut flower production goes high-tech with augmented reality

augmented reality and flowers

Consumers could be guaranteed the best quality flowers – each and every time you get flowers delivered – through the use of augmented reality (AR) technology in the production of cut flowers.

A number of uses of the groundbreaking use cases are being investigated by researchers in the Netherlands – most notably the ability to identify when a flower is at its prime and ready for harvesting. The AR glasses automatically count the number of stamens in the flower of a gerbera, with the purpose of training harvest personnel to recognise harvest-ready flowers.

In the second use case, AR glasses recognise the degree of stress of plants in a greenhouse. This is measured by infrared sensors, and converted by the glasses into relevant information that can be projected in colour over the image of the crop in the glasses.

Further use cases of the technology are being investigated, most notably an automatic recognition of plants and their locations in a greenhouse, which reduces the need for barcodes or QR codes and provides information on each plant. The glasses can also be used to convert speech into text, helping breeders to make notes without having to write down their findings with pen and paper. All they have to do is talk and notes are sent to their laptop, tablet or smartphone!

The research has been led by AR experts at the Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), supported by a number of flower growers and entrepreneurs. The Augmented Horticulture project has been running for four years and uses Microsoft's HoloLens 2 technology, which is currently the most powerful AR glasses available.

It’s hoped that as well as improving quality of cut flower production, the technology will also ensure production meets demand – which could come in handy at busy times such as Valentine’s Day when demand soars.


By Austin Clark 07 December 2020