Spotting Fish Bones in Cod Fillets

Spotting Fish Bones in Cod Fillets

February 16, 2004

Norut IT and Fiskeriforskning have developed a method for spotting fish bones hiding in cod fillets. The first robots for plucking out the tricky last bones will soon be installed in Norwegian fish industry. This may nearly double productivity and once again make our fish processing competitive with China.

The secret is to use x-ray imagery and extremely efficient image processing which gives the answer “Bone” or “No Bone” in a matter of milliseconds. The actual bone plucking is done mechanically followed by a final control. The researchers at Norut IT are experts in Remote Sensing and will ordinarily analyse satellite images to obtain information about phenomena on the surface of the Earth. It turns out that pattern recognition in satellite images and in x-ray images can be done using the same priciples.

" Near Sensing" The Icelandic company Marel Hf and Fiskeriforskning started working on an automated technology to reduce manual cutting of fish fillets. A major challenge was to detect remaining bones in the fillets fast and accurately. It was here Norut IT’s expertise in signal processing and pattern recognition was useful. - The step from Remote Sensing to “Near Sensing” was really not too big, says researcher Said Hassan Ahmed (picture), - our challenge was to find a method which is sufficiently efficient and safe. We talk about quite heavy computations within a very short timeframe. Our goal was to process at least 40 fish per minute.

Research improves competitiveness Based on the algorithms from Norut IT and Fiskeriforskning the automated production line for fish fillets was completed by Marel. - This is a technological leap that the Norwegian fish industry has waited for, says Director Bjørnar Kleiven in Westfish, a major fish fillet producer in Norway (newspaper interiew 16.02.04). – Cutting salary costs and treating the fish fillets more gently will result in more profitable production and higher prices for our products.

Contacts:Karsten Heia, Fiskeriforskning, Kjell Arild Høgda, Norut IT

Senior Scientist Karsten Heia testing the x-ray machine SensorX at Norway Seafoods factory. (Photo: Fiskeriforskning/Frank Gregersen)