Feature detection of strawberry multi-type defects and the ripeness stage faces huge challenges because of color diversity and visual similarity. Images from hyperspectral near-infrared (NIR) information sources are also limited by their low spatial resolution. In this study, an accurate RGB image (with a spatial resolution of 2048×15362048×1536 pixels) and NIR image (ranging from 700–1100 nm in wavelength, covering 146 bands, and with a spatial resolution of 696×700696×700 pixels) fusion method was proposed to improve the detection of defects and features in strawberries.
This fusion method was based on a pre-trained VGG-19 model. The high-frequency parts of the original RGB and NIR image pairs were filtered and fed into the pre-trained VGG-19 simultaneously. The high-frequency features were extracted and output into ReLU layers; the 𝑙1-1-norm was used to fuse multiple feature maps into one feature map, and area pixel averaging was introduced to avoid the effect of extreme pixels.
The high- and low-frequency parts of RGB and NIR were summed into one image according to the information weights at the end. In the validation section, the detection dataset included expanded 4000 RGB images and 4000 NIR images (training and testing set ratio was 4:1) from 240 strawberry samples labeled as mud contaminated, bruised, both defects, defect-free, ripe, half-ripe, and unripe. The detection neural network YOLOv3-tiny operated on RGB-only, NIR-only, and fused image input modes, achieving the highest mean average precision of 87.18% for the proposed method. Finally, the effects of different RGB and NIR weights on the detection results were also studied. This research demonstrated that the proposed fusion method can greatly improve the defect and feature detection of strawberry samples.
Lu, Y.; Gong, M.; Li, J.; Ma, J. Strawberry Defect Identification Using Deep Learning Infrared–Visible Image Fusion. Agronomy 2023, 13, 2217. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13092217