UBC Undergraduate Research

Real-­Time Image Processing in Mechatronics Systems – (RIMS) Keshmiri, Saman; Issaei, Amir; Willems, Robert


Rodents have become a problem in a older greenhouse at the UBC Farm. They find the warm atmosphere of the greenhouse and the harvest and seedlings stored in the greenhouse a welcoming home. The rodents damage the hard work of the UBC Farm staff. Conventional rodent control mechanism have proven ineffective such as sonic traps which use high frequency ultrasound; snap traps require a great deal of attention and attract birds into the greenhouse when rodents are caught; resealing the greenhouse is far too costly; thus, the our team has designed an active device to track rodent movement within the bounds of the greenhouse and follow the rodents with the ability to trigger an external device for frightening the rodents. The external devices is out of the scope of our engineering team’s knowledge and is left up to professionals in the field to implement. We present a real-­‐time image-­‐processing mechatronic system. Using an infrared camera, to eliminate the distinction between daylight and night time, to capture images of the greenhouse and using image processing on the computer track rodents. The device installed in the greenhouse includes a housing mechanism for the camera with motors to control the position of the camera and consequently any external triggering device attached to it. The tracking system is tested in the laboratory and has proven effective at tacking small objects in both regular light and low light conditions. There is a ~1.5s delay in motion present in front of the camera and reaction of the tracker; however, in the time frame present our team was not able to eliminate this delay completely but reduced it down from 2.8s to 1.5s using sophisticated probabilistic models for immediate future motion tracking. The system has 5 components, 3 of which are coded on a computer using MATLAB computation software while the other 2 components are an Arduino microcontroller and the infrared camera. The computer and microcontroller communicate via a serial connection while information from the camera is read into the computer via Ethernet. Accurate and precise motion detection allows the system to detect the smallest of changes in the environment it is monitoring thus making the system ideal for small rodents.

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