The invention provides an improved method for automatic chick sexing. Under regular lighting, the color intensity of down and feather of baby chicks are essentially the same and it is difficult to separate the feathers in the image. By using UV light, the optical system significantly enhanced the feathers by suppressing the downs in images. It produced clear feather signals for subsequent identification and allocation of feathers in the image. The feather image segments could be obtained through thresholding with any value from 200 to 230 on the 255 maximum intensity scale. Important features of the invention include a video camera, special lighting, an image processing system and a computer for analysis. The digital video camera captures a clear image of chick wings using selected light wavelengths including long UV wavelengths and particularly wavelengths from 250 nanometers to 450 nanometers. Special lighting architecture provides maximum illumination enhancement and feature extraction for the camera and the pattern recognition software. The digital image processing system processes signals from the camera and it makes instantaneous image analysis. The computer system hosts the digital imaging system and it executes the decisions made by the digital image processing system.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Arkansas, N.A. (Little Rock, AR)
Tao, Yang and Walker, Joel, "Automatic feather sexing of poultry chicks using ultraviolet imaging" (2002). Patents Granted. 154.