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back to article Who needs flying cars when we can robotically sort Skittles?

One of life's most vexing chores has finally been roboticized: sorting those delectable candy pellets, Skittles, by color. If you insist to The Reg that you've never separated a bag of Skittles – or, for that matter, their chocolaty analog, M&M's – into piles segregated by their purple, green, orange, red, and yellow hues, well …

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Anonymous Coward

Sorted for e's and whiz.

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Nice trick. Hardly groundbreaking, I've worked in places where the colour of labels is scanned by dedicated colour-detection "cameras". Put in quotes because the only output from these devices is not an image but a value for "is what is in front of me the correct preprogrammed colour value(s)?"

For a one-geek-and-some-tools trick though, it's pretty awesome. A challenge to others to see if they can do it better, perhaps!

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Go

He's got some work to do to beat human fingers though

My 6-year-old nephew can sort Skittles and Smarties a damn sight faster than that machine does it!

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Re: He's got some work to do to beat human fingers though

Yeah but the machine won't eat them while doing it

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Terminator

Re: He's got some work to do to beat human fingers though

"Yeah but the machine won't eat them while doing it"

Are you sure? #rotm

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I'm not interested, until...

it can plough through a box of choccies and incinerate all the coffee flavoured ones.

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Stop

Re: I'm not interested, until...

No, no, no, no, no. Just send them to me!

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Stop

Slow and boring

Have a look at the flexipicker robots on yuotube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9oeOYMRvuQ

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Childcatcher

What's in a meme?

I know there is no one accepted definition as to what constitutes a robot, but what springs to mind is something that mimics existing biological creatures in order to get things done. For example, if it flies, it ought to fly something like a bird (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuD1WKHsggs) and if it runs, it ought to run on legs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chPanW0QWhA).

Not to take away from the sorter, which was quite clever, but if I had my druthers, I would rather see an octobot with awesome tentacular sorting action (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTeUZTk5J2c).

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Terminator

This one is much more fun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ccr1smU4g

It even does the hard work of randomising the pills in the first place

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Stop

Re: This one is much more fun

"This video does not exist"

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FAIL

Re: This one is much more fun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ccr1smU4gY

copy and paste fail

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Alert

"If you insist to The Reg...

"...that you've never separated a bag of Skittles – or, for that matter, their chocolaty analog, M&M's – into piles segregated by their purple, green, orange, red, and yellow hues, well, we simply won't believe you."

Well I haven't, mostly because they don't taste as nice as Smarties! (Which I may have sorted into colours, but that's my business...)

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Coat

Does no one care...

...that Skittles are to M&Ms like chicken s**t to chicken salad?

Mine's the one with rainbow-coloured chocolate stains.

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I recall a similar student project at York University back in 1997, sorting marbles by colour - just two variants there though, and a great deal faster (flipping a dividing gate between two positions with an electromagnet) - sorting the marbles as they rolled down a chute as a "stream", rather than stopping to examine each one before going to the next. Easily adaptable to this of course: split 3 colours one way, the rest the other, then adjust the settings and re-sort those two batches.

Still, quite a neat little project; he could probably make it 2-3 times faster just by keeping the feeder rotating and sampling the moment the next morsel passes the lens, if he wanted.

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Surely if we adapt the machine for M&Ms...

... we'd still be able to use it to sort Skittles, so it wouldn't be a mere M&MSM, as the article suggests. Indeed, let's hope that it could handle Smarties as well, for a full-on S&S&M&MSM.

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