Single grain sorter and loader for optical dating

Mech - Design project - Single-Grain "Sorter and Loader" for Optical Dating

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Accordingly, the offloading subassembly 26 can be extracting objects from a sorting tray 32 supported at one end of the rotary indexing table 24 while a second loaded sorting tray 32 is substantially simultaneously being positioned on the opposing end of the rotary indexing table Any suitable rotary drive devicecontrollable by the MCS 22, can be utilized to rotate, or pivot, the rotary indexing table For example, the rotary drive device can be a pneumatically, hydraulically, or electrically driven rotary drive device or motor controllable by the MCS The MCS 22 controls rotation of the rotary indexing table 24 to selectively position, i.

In various embodiments, the MCS 22 rotates the rotary indexing table 24 such that a loaded sorting tray 32, i. Then, as described further below, the MCS 22 commands the head unit 38 to lower the nozzle array 36 such that a tip of each nozzle 40 best illustrated in FIG. The MCS 22 then commands one or more selected nozzle regulators 30 to communicate a vacuum pressure, i. More specifically, one, some or all of the nozzles 40 can be activated by the MCS 22, i. Utilizing the vacuum pressure, the selected nozzles 40 capture, i.

More specifically, one, some or all of the objects in the corresponding wells 34 can be captured and retained by the nozzle array The MCS 22 controls the operation of the nozzle regulators 30 such that the vacuum pressure provided at the tip of each nozzle 40 is modulated to exert sufficient force to capture the respective object without damaging the respective object.

The MCS 22 then commands the head unit 38 to lift, or raise, the nozzle array 36, thereby extracting the selected objects from the object sorting tray The MCS 22 then rotates the rotary indexing table 24 to move the end of the rotary indexing table 24 and the sorting tray 32 being offloaded sufficiently out of the way, e. The MCS 22 then commands selected ones of the activated nozzles 40 to deactivate, i. In various embodiments, before releasing the object sthe MCS 22 commands the head unit 38 to move the nozzle array 36 toward the transfer funnel Prior to releasing the selected extracted objects, the MCS 22 commands the collection assembly X-Y stage 66 to position a selected one of the receptacles 61 retained in the receptacle retention apparatus 62 adjacent, e.

More particularly, the MCS 22 deactivates one, some or all of the nozzles 40 to release one, some or all the extracted objects into the reception end 98 of the transfer funnel If not all the extracted objects are to be released and deposited into one selected receptacle, the MCS 22 will command the offloading subassembly 26 to release selected ones of the extracted objects into a selected receptacle, as described above.

The MCS 22 will then command the collection assembly X-Y stage 66 to position a second selected receptacle adjacent the disposition end of the transfer funnel 20 and release at least one of the remaining extracted objects. Thus, the at least one extracted object remaining after the first disposition of selected extracted objects will be deposited into the second selected receptacle, based on the specific attributes of the selected extracted object s.

The MCS 22 will continue to reposition the collection assembly X-Y stage 66, and selectively release and deposit the remaining extracted objects in selected receptacles 61 based on the attributes of each extracted object. Furthermore, as described above, one, some or all of the objects in the sorting tray 32 can be extracted at one time. If not all the objects in the sorting tray 32 are extracted during the first extraction process, but it is desired to selectively extract and deposit other objects remaining in the sorting tray 32, the MCS 22 will command repetition of the offloading process, as described above.

That is, once the offloading subassembly 26 selectively releases all the objects extracted during a first extraction process, the MCS 22 will rotate the rotary indexing table 24 to reposition the sorting tray 32 under the nozzle array The MCS 22 with then command a second selective extraction and disposition of other objects in the sorting tray 32 in the same manner as described above.

The MCS 22 will continue to command subsequent selective extraction and disposition processes until all the desired objects in the sorting tray 32 have been selectively extracted and deposited into selected receptacles 61 based on the attributes of the respective selected objects. Furthermore, depending on the number of wells 34 in the sorting tray 32 being offloaded and the corresponding number of nozzles 40 in the nozzle array 36, the MCS 22 can reposition the nozzle array 36 to selectively extract all the desired objects in the respective sorting tray 32 and deposit the extracted objects into selected receptacles For example, if the sorting tray 32 includes forty-eight wells 34, but the nozzle array 36 only includes twelve nozzles 40, then initially, when the sorting tray 32 is positioned under the nozzle array 36, only twelve of the wells 34 will align with a respective one of the twelve nozzles The MCS 22 commands repetition of the offloading and nozzle array realignment process until all desired objects in the forty-eight wells 34 have been deposited in the selected receptacles 61 based on the attributes of the respective selected objects.

The staged indexing table 24 is suitable for supporting and retaining one or more sorting trays The sorting tray s 32 can be retained on the staged indexing table 24 using any suitable retention device, as described above. Similar to the collection assembly X-Y stage 60 described above, the indexing table X-Y stage includes a Y-axis transport and an X-axis transport The Y-axis transport is automatically, or robotically controllable by the MCS 22 to move the indexing table 24 along the Y-axis of the X-Y-Z coordinate system.

Thus, under the control of the MCS 22, the indexing table 24 and associated sorting tray s 32 can be automatically positioned anywhere along the length of the Y-axis transport Additionally, the Y-axis transport is movably connected to the X-axis transport of the indexing table X-Y stage Under the control of the MCS 22, the Y-axis transportthe indexing table 24 and associated sorting tray s 32 can be automatically positioned anywhere along the length of the X-axis transport The staged indexing table 24 can robotically move, as controlled by the MCS 22, along tracks of the X-axis transport and the Y-axis transport utilizing a pneumatically, hydraulically or electrically controlled threaded shaft system, wire or cable pulley system, piston system, or any other suitable positioning system within the X-axis stage More particularly, the MCS 22 robotically controls movement of the staged indexing table 24 and the nozzle array 36 within the respective X-Y planes to selectively position any and all the sorting tray wells 34 to be offloaded by the offloading subassembly Once the staged indexing table 24 and the nozzle array 36 have been moved within the respective X-Y planes to position the nozzle array 36 above the selected wells 34, the MCS 22 commands the head unit 38 to lower the nozzle array 36 such that the tip of each nozzle 40 is inserted into a corresponding well As described above, the vacuum pressure is utilized by the selected nozzles 40 to capture, i.

The MCS 22 then commands the head unit 38 to extract the selected objects from the object sorting tray The MCS 22 then moves the staged indexing table 24 to provide an unobstructed path between the nozzle array 36 and the transfer funnel reception end As described above, the MCS 22 then commands the nozzle array 36 to release selected ones of the extracted objects into the reception end 98 of the transfer funnel Also, as described above, prior to releasing the selected extracted objects, the MCS 22 commands the collection assembly X-Y stage 66 to position a selected one of the receptacles 61 adjacent, e.

If not all the extracted objects are to be released and deposited into one selected receptacle, the MCS 22 will command the collection assembly X-Y stage 66 to position a second selected receptacle adjacent the disposition end of the transfer funnel 20 and release at least one of the remaining extracted objects.

The MCS 22 will then command a second selective extraction and disposition of other objects in the sorting tray 32 in the same manner as described above. The indexing table home sensor senses when the indexing table 24 is in a home, or start, position.

When the indexing table 24 is in the home position, the rotary table is positioned in a desired position for initialization of ASOSS 10 operation. For example, when the rotary indexing table 24 of FIG. Alternatively, when the staged indexing table 24 of FIG.

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Upon initialization of ASOSS 10 operation, the home sensor determines whether the rotary indexing table 24 is in the home position. If the rotary indexing table 24 is sensed to be away from the home position, the MCS 22 will reposition the indexing table 24 to the home position.

That is, the offloading subassembly 26 can capture and extract one or more objects from the respective sorting tray wells 34, as described above, and relocate, i. Generally, each nozzle 40 includes a tubular body having an internal passage defined therewithin. Each nozzle 40 additionally includes a connector cap affixed to, or formed with, a proximal end of the body and having an internal cavity communicatively open to and aligned with the internal passage The connector cap is structured to allow the vacuum flex lines 41 to be removably connected to each respective nozzle connector cap For example, each connector cap can have an annular locking channel around the outside wall of the connector cap Each annular locking channel is structured to receive and lockingly engage an annular slip ring not shown of each respective vacuum flex line Therefore, vacuum pressure provided by the respective nozzle regulators 30 is communicated through the respective vacuum flex line 41, the connector cap internal cavity and the nozzle body internal passage to the tip of each respective nozzle More particularly, the vacuum pressure provided at the tip of each nozzle 40 is controlled by at least one respective nozzle regulator 30 that includes switches, valves, and sensors to control and regulate the vacuum pressure at nozzle tip so as to not damage the captured object.

Additionally, in various embodiments, each nozzle tip is customized to optimize handling of each object as it is extracted from the sorting plate and deposited in a receptacle 61 of the receptacle retention apparatus For example, in various embodiments, each tip is structured or formed to accommodate the shape of the wells 34 of the sorting tray For example, if the wells 34 have a shallow, rounded, concave shape, the tip is structured or formed to have wider rounded convex shape such that the tip operates more efficiently when abducting and extracting an object from the wells Or, if the wells 34 have a deeper, cylindrical, flat bottom shape, the tip is structured or formed to have narrow, cylindrical shape with a flat distal end, as shown in FIG.

Additionally, in various embodiments, the nozzle tips each include a screen-like device having a plurality of openings spaced apart such that the objects can be abducted and extracted without damaging the object.

In various embodiments, the tips are interchangeable to meet the handling preferences or requirements of various different objects. In various embodiments, each nozzle 40 further includes a pressure sensor that senses and monitors the vacuum pressure at the tip More particularly, the pressure sensor communicates vacuum pressure readings at the tip of each nozzle 40 to the MCS The MCS 22 interprets the vacuum pressure readings at each nozzle tip to determine when an object has been successfully captured and extracted from a respective sorting tray well 34 and then also when each extracted object has been released into the transfer funnel Each captured object will obstruct the flow of air through the respective nozzle The obstruction of air flow will alter the vacuum pressure at the respective nozzle tip The respective pressure sensor will sense the change in vacuum pressure and communicate the changed pressure readings to the MCS The MCS 22 additionally includes at least one electronic storage device that comprises a computer readable medium, such as a hard drive or any other electronic data storage device for storing such things as software packages or programs, algorithms and digital information, data, look-up tables, spreadsheets and databases.

In various embodiments, the MCS 22, i. In various embodiments, the MCS 22 includes an objecting sorting software programstored on the storage device and executed by processor using inputs from the user interface and various components, sensors, systems and assemblies of the ASOSS Execution of object sorting program controls the automated, or robotic, operation of the ASOSS Specifically, during operation of the ASOSS 10, some or all of the wells 34 will each have an object retained therein.

Additionally, each sorting tray 32 includes a sorting tray identification device attached thereto. The identification device identifies logistic data regarding the respective sorting tray The logistic data is generated based on the specific genotypes or attributes of each particular object in each well 34, e. More specifically, in various embodiments, the logistic data includes data and information specifically identifying each object residing in the respective sorting tray 32 based on the specific attributes of each respective object.

Additionally, the logistic data includes data identifying the particular well 34 in which each identified object resides. Furthermore, the logistic data includes data identifying the type of receptacle retention apparatus 62 mounted on the collection assembly platform 58 and location, e.

Still further yet, the logistic data includes data specifying which specific object s residing in the particular sorting tray 32 are to be extracted and deposited into which specific receptacle s 61 of the particular receptacle retention apparatus In various embodiments, the logistic data is downloaded to and stored on the electronic storage devicesuch that during execution of the object sorting programby the processorthe logistic data is accessed directly, or locally, from the electronic storage device and utilized to control operation of the ASOSS 10, as described herein.

In other embodiments, the logistic data can be stored remotely, e. Therefore, during execution of the object sorting programthe processor is required to access the logistic data from the remote location or site to control operation of the ASOSS 10, as described herein. In yet other embodiments, the logistic data can be stored on a removable electronic storage media, e. Therefore, prior to execution of the object sorting program the removable storage media must be inserted or connected to the removable media reader Accordingly, during execution of the object sorting programthe processor is required to access the logistic data from the removable media reader to control operation of the ASOSS 10, as described herein.

Further, the processor interprets the logistic data to determine into which specific receptacle s 61, of the particular receptacle retention apparatus 62 mounted on the collection assembly platform 58, the selected objects are to be deposited.

Based on these two determinations, the MCS 22, i. To initiate execution of the object sorting programand operation of the ASOSS 10, the sorting tray identification, specified by the sorting tray identification devicemust be input to the MCS Then, based on the sorting tray identification information, the processor accesses the logistic data articulating which specific object s are to be deposited into which specific receptacle s Then, based on the logistic data, the processor controls operation of the ASOSS 10 to deposit the specified object s into the specified receptacle s 61, as described above.

Thus, to initiate operation of the ASOSS 10, a user or operator scans the bar code sorting tray identification device using the bar code reader user interface The processor then interprets the sorting tray identification information provided by reading the bar code sorting tray identification deviceaccesses the logistic data corresponding to the sorting tray identification information, and controls the operation of the ASOSS 10 to extract and deposit the selected object s as articulated by the logistic data.

For example, the sorting tray identification device can comprise a magnetic tag or a magnetic strip readable by a suitable magnetic tag or strip reader user interface Alternatively, the sorting tray identification device can comprise an electronic tag or device readable by a suitable electronic tag or device reader user interface In still other embodiments, the sorting tray identification device can comprise any other sort of human readable or interpretable label.

In which case, the user or operator would read human readable sorting tray identification device and manually input the sorting tray identification information directly into the MCS 22 using the user interfacee. Referring again to FIGS. More particularly, in various embodiments, the receptacle identification tags are used to compile the logistic data identifying the location, e.

Generally, prior to operation of the ASOSS 10, each receptacle tag is read, or interpreted, and then each receptacle 61 is assigned a position within the receptacle retention apparatus The identification information for each receptacle 61 and the corresponding positions of the receptacles 61 within the receptacle retention apparatus 62 are stored in the MCS 22 as logistic data used during execution of the object sorting program, as described above.

The bar code receptacle identification tags of each receptacle 61 are read utilizing the bar code reader user interface For example, the receptacle identification tags can comprise magnetic tags or magnetic strips readable by a suitable magnetic tag or strip reader user interface Alternatively, the receptacle identification tags can comprise electronic tags or devices readable by a suitable electronic tag or device reader user interface In still other embodiments, the receptacle identification tags can comprise any other sort of human readable or interpretable labels or tags.

The method of claim 23, wherein transferring the seed from the loading shoe onto the mirrored imaging stage comprises: The method of claim 19, further comprising directing light at a plurality of sequentially changing spectral wavelengths on a top portion and a bottom portion of the loaded mirrored imaging stage.

The method of claim 25, wherein directing light at a plurality of sequentially changing spectral wavelengths on a top portion and a bottom portion of the loaded mirrored imaging stage comprises: The method of claim 19, wherein collecting image data for the top portion, the bottom portion and the at least one side portion of the seed comprises: The method of claim 27, wherein collecting image data for the top portion, the bottom portion and the at least one side portion of the seed further comprises collecting image data from the bottom portion of the seed utilizing one or more bottom mirror assemblies positioned below the mirrored imaging stage such that the image data for the bottom portion of the seed is reflected from a plurality of bottom mirrors mounted at an angle within the one or more bottom mirror assemblies to the one or more imaging devices positioned above the mirrored imaging stage.

The method of claim 19, wherein analyzing the collected image data comprises performing multi-variate analysis on the collected image data to determine whether the seed exhibits the desired phenotype. The method of claim 19, further comprising selectively depositing the seed into a respective selected one of a plurality of seed repositories, which includes: The method of claim 1, wherein collecting image data includes collecting image data from the top portion of the seed, the bottom portion of the seed, and the at least one side portion of the seed, at each of the spectral wavelengths, using an imaging device.

The method of claim 31, wherein collecting image data includes substantially simultaneously collecting image data from the top portion of the seed, the bottom portion of the seed, and the at least one side portion of the seed using the imaging device. The system of claim 7, further comprising: The system of claim 33, further comprising a transparent imaging surface for supporting the seed in the imaging and analysis subsystem to allow for collecting image data of the top portion, the bottom portion, and the at least one side portion of the seed.

The system of claim 34, wherein the transparent imaging surface includes a multi-well seed tray. The system of claim 34, wherein the transparent imaging surface includes an imaging stage.

  • Single grain sorter and loader for optical dating sim
  • CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • WO2017042760A1 - System for grain sorting - Google Patents

The system of claim 7, wherein the imaging device of the imaging and analysis subsystem is structured and operable to substantially simultaneously collect image data of the top portion, the bottom portion, and the at least one side portion of the seed. The method of claim 19, further comprising: FIELD The present disclosure generally relates generally to automated systems and methods for sorting small agricultural objects, such as seeds, based on image analysis.

In the agricultural industry, and more specifically in the seed breeding industry, it is important for scientists to be able to analyze seeds with high throughput. By this it is meant that the analysis of the seeds preferably occurs not only quickly, but also reliably and with high total volume. For example, in seed breeding, large numbers of seeds are analyzed to determine whether the seeds possess particular phenotypic traits or markers of interest.

Historically, seeds are manually examined, weighed, identified for the presence or absence of the desired trait or marker, and then sorted. Such manual seed analysis is a tedious, cumbersome task subject to human error. SUMMARY The present disclosure generally relates to systems and methods of sorting individual seeds from a plurality of seeds based on one or more identified phenotypes of each respective seed.

The methods are particularly adapted for automation, which permits a greater sorting efficiency and throughput rate than was previously practical. With the automated seed sorting permitted by the various embodiments of the present disclosure, it is possible to analyze every seed in the population, and separate those identified as having a desired characteristic or trait, e.

In various embodiments, the present disclosure provides a method for determining whether individual ones of a plurality of seeds exhibit a desired phenotype. The method includes loading individual seeds onto an imaging stage, directing light onto the seeds from at least two directional angles and at a plurality of sequentially changing spectral wavelengths, collecting image data from at least two portions of each seed selected from a top portion, a bottom portion and a plurality of side portions of each seed, at each of the spectral wavelengths, and analyzing the collected image data to determine whether each seed exhibits a desired phenotype.

In various other embodiments, the present disclosure provides a seed sorting system for sorting a plurality of seeds based on identified phenotypes of the seeds. The system includes a seed loading station structured and operable to load a plurality of seeds into a seed tray such that each seed is deposited into a corresponding one of a plurality of wells in the seed tray. Additionally, the system includes at least one imaging station structured to acquire image data of the loaded seed tray at each of a plurality of filtered spectral wavelength bands for each of a plurality of viewing angles.

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The system further includes an off-load and sort station structured to selectably sort each seed to a particular one of a plurality of seed repositories based on whether each respective seed includes a desired phenotype, as determined by analysis of the acquired image data. In yet other various embodiments, the present disclosure provides a method for automatically separating desired seeds from a population of seeds.

The method includes depositing a plurality of the seeds into a seed tray comprising a plurality of wells, each seed being deposited into an individual well of the seed tray and imaging the seeds within the seed tray to identify seeds having a desired phenotype, and sorting the seeds identified as having the desired phenotype to a corresponding seed repository.

In still yet other various embodiments, the present disclosure provides a seed sorting system for sorting a plurality of seeds based on identified phenotypes of the seeds. The system includes a seed loading station structured to load a plurality of seeds into a seed tray such that each seed is deposited into a corresponding one of a plurality of wells in the seed tray. Additionally, the system includes a first imaging station structured and operable to acquire image data of a top portion of the loaded seed tray at each of a plurality of filtered spectral wavelength bands.

The system further includes a second imaging station structured and operable to acquire image data of a bottom portion of the loaded seed tray at each of a plurality of filtered spectral wavelength bands. Further yet, the system includes an off-load and sort station structured and operable to selectably sort each seed to a particular one of a plurality of seed repositories based on whether each respective seed includes a desired phenotype, as determined by analysis of the acquired image data.

In still other various embodiments, the present disclosure provides a method for automatically identifying seeds having a desired phenotype in a population of seeds.

The method includes loading each of a plurality seeds into a corresponding one of a plurality of wells in a seed tray. Image data of the loaded seed tray is then collected at a plurality of spectral wavelength bands. The collected image data is then analyzed to determine whether each seed exhibits a desired phenotype. In other various embodiments, the present disclosure provides a method for automatically sorting haploid seeds from a population of seeds. The method includes loading a plurality of the seeds into a seed tray comprising a plurality of wells and a transparent bottom.

Each seed is deposited into a respective individual well of the seed tray. Light is then directed onto a top portion of loaded seed tray utilizing at least two first light sources positioned to provide different top illumination angles. The method additionally includes sequentially passing light reflected off the top portion of the loaded seed tray by each separate first light source through a plurality of spectral filters to sequentially filter out specific spectral wavelengths of the reflected light from each first light source.

Image data of the top portion of the loaded seed tray is then sequentially collected as each spectral filter is sequentially applied to the reflected light from each separate top illumination angle.

The method further includes directing light onto a bottom portion of loaded seed tray utilizing at least one second light source positioned to provide at least one bottom illumination angle. The method still further includes sequentially passing light reflected off the bottom portion of the loaded seed tray, by the at least one second light source, through a plurality of spectral filters to sequentially filter out specific spectral wavelengths.

Image data of the bottom portion of the loaded seed tray is then sequentially collected as each spectral filter is sequentially applied to the reflected light from the at least one bottom illumination angle. The collected top and bottom image data is then analyzed to determine whether each seed in the seed tray is absent a phenotype indicative of a diploid trait, such that the seed is classified as a haploid.

The system includes at least one imaging station structured to acquire image data, from at least one viewing angle, of the loaded seed tray at each of a plurality of filtered spectral wavelength bands for each of a plurality of illumination angles. In further embodiments, the present disclosure provides a method for determining whether individual ones of a plurality of seeds exhibit a desired phenotype. The method includes loading each seed of a set of seeds onto a respective one of a plurality of mirrored imaging stages having transparent bottoms, and substantially simultaneously directing light, at a plurality of sequentially changing spectral wavelengths on a top portion and a bottom portion of each loaded mirrored imaging stage.

The method further includes substantially simultaneously collecting image data for a top portion, a bottom portion and a plurality of side portions of each loaded seed, at each of the spectral wavelengths, analyzing the collected image data to determine whether each seed exhibits a desired phenotype, and selectively depositing each seed of the set of seeds into a respective selected one of a plurality of seed repositories based on the determination whether each respective seed exhibits the desired phenotype.

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In still further embodiments, the present disclosure provides a system for sorting a plurality of seeds based on identified phenotypes of the seeds. The system includes an optics and controller station structured and operable to substantially simultaneously collect image data of a top portion of each respective seed in a set of seeds, a bottom portion of each respective seed in the set of seeds and a plurality of side portions of each respective seed in the set of seeds.

The optics and controller station is additionally structured and operable to analyze the collected image data to determine whether each seed exhibits a desired phenotype. The system further includes a seed loading, transporting and sorting station structured and operable to singulate each seed of the set of seeds from a plurality of seeds in a bulk seed hopper, transport the set of seeds to the optics and controller station, and selectively sort each seed to a respective one of a plurality of seed repositories based on whether each respective seed exhibits the desired phenotype.

In yet other embodiments, the present disclosure provides a method for determining whether individual ones of a plurality of seeds exhibit a desired phenotype. The method includes loading each seed of a set of seeds onto a respective one of a plurality of mirrored imaging stages having transparent bottoms, and substantially simultaneously directing light at a plurality of sequentially changing spectral wavelengths on a top portion and a bottom portion of each loaded mirrored imaging stage.

The method additionally includes substantially simultaneously collecting image data for a top portion, a bottom portion and a plurality of side portions of each loaded seed, at each of the spectral wavelengths. The method further includes analyzing the collected image data to determine whether each seed exhibits a desired phenotype, and selectively depositing each seed of the set of seeds into a respective selected one of a plurality of seed repositories based on the determination whether each respective seed exhibits the desired phenotype.

Further areas of applicability of the present teachings will become apparent from the description provided herein. It should be understood that the description and specific examples are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present teachings.

Throughout this specification, like reference numerals will be used to refer to like elements. For example, each seed can be categorized based on whether each respective seed possesses one or more desired characteristics or phenotypes. Similarly, all seeds for which it is uncertain whether the seeds possess the one or more desired characteristics or phenotypes can be sorted to one or more corresponding other seed repositories.

Further yet, all rejected seeds, e. The automated seed sorter system 10 additionally includes a central controller system 16 that is structured and operable to control all the operations of the seed sorter system It should be understood that the various embodiments of the seed sorter system 10, exemplarily illustrated and described herein, include various stationary braces, beams, platforms, pedestals, stands, etc.

Although such braces, beams, platforms, pedestals, stands, etc.