In 2017, the U.S. imported $21.5B in seafood. Much of the “imported” seafood was caught domestically but sent abroad for processing due to a labor shortage in the seafood industry. The FISH project aims to re-shore seafood processing.
Currently, much of the seafood sold in the US is caught domestically but shipped abroad for processing. The FISH project aims to re-shore seafood processing, thus reducing the risk of food contamination and spurring economic growth. The estimated economic impact of the FISH project amounts to $20B within 5-10 years. The developments from this project have the potential for application in the meat, plastics, and textile industries as well.
Re-shore seafood processing through the development of a multi-use robot station that can handle fish and operate in a constrained, collaborative environment.
The multi-use robot station will include the development of:
- Visual and tactile inspection and manipulation of nonstandard materials
- Novel mechanism designs to handle perishable food items
These innovations will enable the station to:
- Work collaboratively with human workers
- Pick-up fresh seafood from a tabletop or moving conveyor belt
- Sort fresh seafood by weight
- Operate at an accuracy and speed comparable to human workers
- Operate in temperatures and humidity levels needed for seafood processing
- Enhance operations by performing dangerous and repetitive tasks, allowing humans to take on more intricate tasks