Striving for perfection, researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology are working with a local bakery to develop an imaging system that spots bad sandwich buns. The system looks for defects as the buns emerge from the oven and tosses out the rejects.
The automated inspection prototype uses a digital camera to size up color, shape, seed distribution, and size. Buns that don't measure up are identified by imaging software and automatically knocked from the conveyor. The system also counts the good and out-of-spec buns and generates product reports.
Eventually plans are to extend automation with additional sensors that can correct any quirks leading to poor-quality products. For example, future systems may be able to adjust oven settings or make changes in the proofer to account for heat and humidity disturbances.