The process looks like magic. Color-mixed items go in, and single-color items come out, on a line going so fast that no human can see what's happening. It's amazing to see computer vision systems that fast.
These machines work by putting the items on a conveyor belt, then dropping them on a much faster conveyor to spread them out. The fast conveyor goes past cameras, and at the end, launches the items into free flight for a few inches. While in flight, computer-controlled air jets knock out the rejects.
But it doesn't just reject every bad seed, instead it will optimize to keep within legally accepted limits.
This is just... I guess the emotion you feel when reading the last paragraph defines you as either technical guy (outrage / resignation, depending on your age and experience) or managerial guy (pure delight).
I am guessing there is a switch that makes it sort properly, you know, for VIP?
The contract stipulated that the wheat would contain something like <1% sand. US wheat at the time had effectively no sand at all, so they mixed in 1% of pure sand, staying just within the contract terms.
(I heard this from a friend whose friend knew something about it; in searching I can’t find a source online, so the story might be apocryphal. I also might be off on the precise percentage.)
"Recombine or add broken corn and broken kernels to whole grain of the same kind, provided, that no dockage or foreign material, including dust, has been added to the broken corn or broken kernels;"
I think you'll find neither story is true.
Like most Urban Legends it's a bit silly, people are people whatever the culture. They have common sense.
This is to prevent over-reliance on the measured SLO rather than the stated SLO in upstream services.
Why ride the line? It'd take one major issue then you're way over you error budget?
For testing/simulations I can see why you'd introduce the errors.
I'd say that feeding humans or even livestock is more important than profits. Or at least, it ought to be.
"Trafigura, Vitol and BP exporting dirty diesel to Africa, says Swiss NGO
"Traders blend cheap fuel with sulphur levels many times the European limit for sale in African countries, says Public Eye"
Where I am, a ton of sand aggregate using in construction is ~$100 per ton. The better sand used in gardens, the brown sand (it's used to repel water so you don't over-water crops) is more than than.
Considering the wheat/ton spot price is $160 per ton at the moment, I don't think the actual prices would be too different.
Also, diplomatically, this might be more difficult to defend. Although allowing this would've been in the best interest of both nations. Cue the human condition :)
Turns out that unrefined sugar is kept in gigantic open barns, and moved around with bulldozers --- not a clean process. Of course, birds and animals get in, and frequently die there, and then the sugar does... sugar things... to them.
As a result there is apparently a legal limit as to the maximum permissible number of crystallised parrots per tonne in Australian sugar.
Further, I'm guessing that there will always be some trace amounts of heavy metals, poisons and such in any grains so it's necessarily about setting a limit and optimizing the mix for the largest clean yield (in itself an interesting problem since the regulations are not for each grain but instead for all of the grain taken together).
Like, if you look closely at a 100 year old house, you'll find details like "the awnings over the window are just long enough to shade the window in the summer and short enough to get sun in the winter" that basically don't make it into modern homes.
While it may or may not be the case that 'house quality' has declined over the decades, that's driven by economic factors: do house buyers want to pay 1.2x or whatever for those extra details? I would conjecture that home developers are not stupid, and that they have tried adding those (presumably expensive) details, and found that they were unable to recoup those costs in an increased price.
Huts aren't compliant with building codes - and regardless, there's specific criteria you have to fulfill to get various statistics (square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen). Plus there are zoning restrictions on minimum building sizes, on top of regulations on minimum room sizes.
>do house buyers want to pay 1.2x or whatever for those extra details?
Even if they do, they often can't. If the bank appraises it as a $200k house, that's often going to mean that the buyer can only ever get a mortgage for $180k with $20k down. If the buyer wants to pay 1.2x, that means that they have to come up with $40k in cash.
>I would conjecture that home developers are not stupid, and that they have tried adding those (presumably expensive) details, and found that they were unable to recoup those costs in an increased price.
They aren't stupid, and they have tried adding details. What you wind up with are granite countertops, because that sort of thing impresses average home-buyers (and is an easy thing to point to for getting your appraisal adjusted).
The big issue is that American homebuyers, as a class, have lost the ability to distinguish good home design from bad. "Why" is a long essay, but the "just trust me on this" is that the vast majority of home-buyers have little to no experience in the sort of work that goes into building a home.
and therefore this is not a legal issue, but an economic one. (or aesthetic, or whatever you want to call it, but not legal)
If the masses don't know or care then it's not a problem to them.
Whereas you, who do both know and care, can snap up superior quality houses at bargain prices.
Seems like a good situation to me.
For example, it has GFCI breakers for all circuits, not just the bathroom ones. For another, it has a stainless steel sill plate (which keeps wood boring insects from coming up through cracks in the foundation).
I did that to every house I ever lived in. It's good practice and as far as I'm concerned it really ought to be code.
Do you also have the habit of installing multiple utp runs into every room ;) ?
1. you're suggesting that the machine has a zero percent false positive rate, which I believe given the circumstances is physically impossible. for this type of machine, there must necessarily be some increasing function relating false positive to true positive rate. perhaps doubling true positives from (making up some numbers) 0.0001% to 0.0002% only wastes 0.01% of the available grain, but either way, I refuse to believe that increasing the true positive rate is truly "free".
2. you're effectively stating that the grain processors take out most of the bad grain, then dump it back in. given that the allowable percentages of "bad material" are (as far as I know) quite low, I don't really see why they would bother reducing the amount thrown away from, say, 0.0001% to 0.00008% to save that tiny amount of money.
I haven't seen the machine but I envision a panel of knobs you can turn to adjust the acceptable levels of mercury, ergot fungus, mildew... ;-)
You feed the whole grape clusters, machine remove each individual berry from stem and then rejects all the unripe/damaged berries and little debris. All in speed of many tons per hour.
All of those are incredible machines, I wish I can buy it for my winery, but even small machines costs something like mid sized house.
My partners and I were bidding to design the machine... we didn't get the job.
Speaking of air bursts, here's an example of the sort of valve that gets used to actuate (with precise timing constraints) the air burst:
Coincidentially I'm working on something similar at the moment only with an order of complexity that is several magnitudes larger than the one on display here (39000 different shapes, several 10's of possible colors). But my contraption doesn't nearly look as nice as this one and definitely is not ready for any kind of production.
I've been working on this for the last two years or so, it has just about every bit of my skills exercised (optical, mechanical, software, electronics) and every time there is a minor breakthrough I feel like throwing a party.
Likely this piece of gear will never see the light of day in a commercial setting but it's the most fun I've had in a long long time.
Disillusioned with web programming (security really spoiled the fun I used to have making web stuff) I figured I should do something that will make programming fun again and at least on that count I have succeeded.
And on another note, I've gained a lot of respect for the visual cortex and it's preprocessing capabilities.
It's become a deliberate strategy of mine to set the subgoal complexity in my personal projects such that I get a small "yes! it works!"-rush about once per week or so. It's what keeps me going on larger projects, even if occasionally some part takes longer to do.
That's roughly the economics of it. There is a cottage industry where people will sort lego in bulk by hand, effectively it's probably better to flip burgers on a $/hr base.
mysql> select count(*) from parts;
| count(*) |
| 38516 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)
Of course not all parts exist in all colors so that helps (a bit), but it is quite an interesting problem to work on. Every assumption you make will be challenged.
Prints and stickers are counted separately but that's not a really huge number and they should be correctly identified (so the surface decoration matters as well in the classification).
Spectrography might give a hint here due to the different formulation of the plastics but some of the knock-offs are now so good it can be very hard to tell them from the real thing.
I'm not really sure if 'counterfeit' is the right term, the companies selling these are not making pieces labeled 'lego', and in fact the Lego brand started out by copying an English product.
Damaged pieces and discolored pieces are also of interest and a very hard category to detect.
It might not be true at the piece level, but some sets on some websites(ali, etc.) are exact replicas of lego sets, bar the brand. Down to the manual. Hence the use of "counterfeit".
The problem is anything but trivial but I'm making good headway, proof of concept took a few months and for the last year or so I've been slowly making progress with a more robust and capable version.
It's a superficially trivial idea, any toddler could do it but to have a machine that does this with any degree of reliability is fairly complex.
If anybody is ever going to try something like this I'd give you just one piece of advice: control your inputs.
Anything you have to deal with in software can eat up capacity very fast so by conditioning your inputs the software can get simpler in ways that really matter.
Excellent question :) Because I'm mad ;)
> and where did you get metric tons of lego?
You've given me some motivation to get off of HN and work on one of my side projects for the rest of today.
> I started working on this machine in May ’16 and only finished it in December. It took a lot of time to design and build the machine, and I kept optimizing the parts and software after the first prototype was done. Including all prototypes and spare parts, I spent nearly €500 on this machine. Well worth it, considering everything I learned.
This is the kind of stuff that I love to read about in the mornings.
I know this machine will not solve world hunger or bring about world peace but I know this would bring peace to my family.
I apologize in advance but I am going to "borrow" your design and work with my kids to recreate this.
Thank you for giving me something worthwhile and productive to do with my kids today. Atleast give them something inspiring and fun to look forward to.
I'm curious, have you tried putting both Skittles and M&M's in the same batch? I'd be interested to see if it determines that the purple Skittles and the brown M&M's are the same color, for example
(Technically it we don't see it make the mistake, but it probably had made a mistake...)
Awesome job! Any stats on its error rate?
The machine sorted the pennies to match a greyscale image given as input, so that the final output is a penny mural ready to be encased in epoxy.
Also, what's the difference between processing M&Ms and Skittles? Is it just the expected colors?
> So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl ... well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you're going to arrive at a technical error. They didn't read the contract. Guaranteed you'd run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening.
apparently they don't want the green ones : http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/vanhalen.asp
I don't think I could punch that much effort into something i wasn't going to commercialize.