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I'm endeavoring to prototype a challenging sorting mechanism inside a fridge and would appreciate any constructive tips on how to get from the specs to a plausible design.

Problem

The aim of the game is to identify and sort food items in the limited space of a fridge - such that a user would push their unsorted shopping into a chamber at the top of the enclosure - and the machine inside would then try to identify the contents with help of bar-codes (first big problem) - and then sort and move the items according to their identities into different chambers below (second big problem).

Solution?

Are there any existing devices that already serve such functions (automatic bar-coding and sorting), the designs of which could perhaps inform the mechanics of the device I'm planning to construct?

  • I'm thinking maybe manufacturing plants
  • or packing factories with conveyor belts etc may use systems that already solve such problems?
  • Or filtering mechanisms in candy dispensers,
  • mechanized lifting forks?
  • Textbook engineering mechanisms?
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  • $\begingroup$ What is your specific question? It sounds like you're asking someone to invent a product for you. $\endgroup$ – Jean-Baptiste Jun 27 '13 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ the question is Are there any existing devices that already serve such functions (automatic bar-coding and sorting)? Im actually trying to not reinvent the wheel and hoping that there is a specific device out there that already solves one or both of these problems? $\endgroup$ – Cel Jun 27 '13 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jean-Baptiste Welcome to Robotics.SE, I converted your answer to a comment since you don't have the necessary rep points yet. $\endgroup$ – ThomasH Jun 27 '13 at 11:34
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    $\begingroup$ The short answer is "yes" -- any mail or package delivery system will have devices for sorting boxes based on machine-readable codes. However, this question as written is offtopic for this site. $\endgroup$ – Ian Jun 27 '13 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ If you google for Mechatronic solutions provider you will find hundreds of companies around the world which specialise in building automated systems of this kind. Making decisions based on barcodes read from packaging is standard industry practice and much too wide an area to be covered in a lowly stack exchange question. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Jun 27 '13 at 20:55
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Moving it around requires, apart the mechanics, always a free and therefore unused space. Wouldn't you rather like to know, what is in which position? And for the barcode: it can become unreadable by ice. I'm thinking of using RFID for a similar project for about 10 fridges with each 30 boxes in it.

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks! im interested in your project more, especially as to how you intend to achieve the identification, id be happy to chat more about it by email or chat here etc? $\endgroup$ – Cel Jun 27 '13 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Cel Add contact info to your profile (like a website). $\endgroup$ – ott-- Jun 28 '13 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ i put in my linkedin details, please add / ping me there so we can have a further conversation $\endgroup$ – Cel Jun 28 '13 at 13:20

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