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The IMV (integrated machine vision) technology trial was carried out at one of Spain's largest cork producers in Barcelona. It was one of 23 pilot projects aimed at different applications and industry sectors.
The trial followed two years of research into how computer vision could be used to recognise patterns in the cork. More than 40 "learning algorithms" were established so that the machine could learn by experience as it worked.
Until now, the process of inspecting cork was completely manual and dependent on individual skill, but using IMV technology it can be automated.
Wider applications of automatic inspection, measurement and control technology are now being considered by the researchers, with more than 70 companies from all over Europe involved, across the electronics, papermaking, food, textiles and timber industries.