Thursday, September 28, 2017

29/09/2017: “The magic bucket”: A patented technology merging optics and machine vision

by Émilie Robichaud, XpertSea

Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food source in the world, on an annual basis, we now consume twice as much seafood as we do beef

Meanwhile, the global population continues to grow; in 2050, there will be 9.5 billion people on earth, and with already 800 million malnourished people today, it is becoming evident that the aquaculture industry will need to play a major role in solving the impending food shortage by providing the world with a reliable and sustainable source of protein. 

XpertSea team
Image credit: XpertSea
However, a huge technology gap is currently preventing aquaculture from reaching its full potential, being far less developed than agriculture in spite of its rapid growth. An efficient and controlled aquaculture operation requires counting and tracking every animal and recording every input (biomass or feed).

Across the globe, traditional labour-intensive methods such as hand counting and visual inspection are the most common way to keep track of the production of small aquatic organisms.

In their pursuit of a better alternative to these inaccurate sampling methods, Canadian technology company XpertSea has developed a new and unique solution for inventory management and quality assessment of early-stage organisms.

Since 2012, the XpertSea team has visited over 150 aquaculture facilities and has had interactions with more than 1000 producers, realising along the way that even if there is an improvement in feed formulations or genetic pools of fish or shrimp, without an efficient production system, the whole industry will struggle to reach sustainability (lots of waste, lower margins, no accurate data for optimising cultures, rampant diseases, etc.).

A modern solution to a widespread problem
It is from this industry pull and strategic collaborations with leading companies, universities and research centers that XpertSea developed the XperCount2, a device built on patented technology that merges optics and machine vision to automatically count, size and image up to millions of small aquatic organisms at a time.

The device features a robust bucket with a fully electronic lid, a seven-inch touch screen and a long-autonomy battery, meaning no external computer or power outlet is required during operation.

Specimens can be counted and sized in under a minute, with accuracy of 95 percent or higher without the need for a single hand count to calibrate the device. Weighing approximately seven lbs, the XperCount can be transported easily by one person through facilities and requires no installation like flow-through counters, thus integrating quickly and painlessly in all types of aquaculture operations.

Made of FDA-approved materials, the device and its counting process are 100 percent safe for live aquatic organisms. Initial research has shown that by using the XperCount to reduce their feed and labour cost, producers can increase profit margins by up to 40 percent.

XpertSea continually works toward developing new counting applications to fit the needs of all types of aquaculture producers and to make the XperCount as flexible a device as possible. A host of applications have already been developed for counting shrimp nauplii and post-larvae as well as various types of live feed and microalgae.

Furthermore, XpertSea observed while visiting customers worldwide that producers were often mishandling, losing, or simply not recording precious information about their aquaculture production, and as their personal lives were becoming increasingly digital, they were beginning to realise it was time to digitise their business too.

The company became aware that a hardware device that could count aquatic organisms was only the first step, prompting the evolution of its offer into a complete and integrated solution that combines their cutting-edge hardware with modern management software technologies.

Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the XpertSea website, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

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