Miniaturised snake robotics for spinal cord removal prior to splitting beef carcasses

Spinal cord removal and splitting have remained manual processes in slaughter houses around the world, due to the variability of the carcasses and the processes themselves posing significant challenges for automation.

The approach for this project has been to develop an experimental miniaturised Snake-arm capable of entering the spinal cavity from the neck end of the whole carcass, with the head removed prior to splitting. It is the longer-term intent that the cord would be removed by such a robot arm, whilst providing data that could be used for a more accurate splitting, following the centreline of the spine, along the length of a whole beef carcass.

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