SoftGrip Project News & Media

SoftGrip in Las Vegas for ISMS 2024


Once more, the SoftGrip project traveled across the Atlantic. This time, our partner, Teagasc, presented our work on developing an autonomous robotic system intended for mushroom harvesting at the 20th ISMS International Congress on the Science and Cultivation of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms, organized by the International Society for Mushroom Science. The event was held in conjunction with the 26th North American Mushroom Conference between February 26-29, 2024, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Las Vegas. Overall, the conference hosted over 500 attendees from all over the world, including mushroom scientists, major mushroom producers, and professionals from the machinery, spawn, and substrate supply industries.

Our consortium’s delegation, the mushroom experts Dr Helen Grogan and Dr Andrea Uccello brought two posters to describe the project’s aims and the early work in understanding the forces involved in the bruising development during picking. Additionally, Dr. Uccello presented a work about mushroom colour grading and its use in the assessment of mushroom quality. The work gave a panoramic view of the tools used for the colour assessment, the previous work done on this topic and proposed a new reference for the mushroom colour assessment. The tool developed will help to define the acceptable discolouration of mushrooms after the robotic harvesting operations, helping with the calibration of future robotic systems. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session, where the public showed an interest in understanding the possible applications of the tool developed, which was an indication of the importance of post-harvesting colour preservation for the commercial acceptability of mushrooms.


There was a dedicated session on “Innovations and Automation in (Mushroom) Harvesting”, where representatives from five commercial companies: Mushroom Machine Company - Gamechanger (UK), 4AG Robotics (Canada), Christiaens Group (Europe), GTL Europe Engineering and Mycionics (Canada) presented their products to the industry. They stressed that closer collaboration with mushroom growers would speed up the rollout of solutions that would significantly help with the current labour issues. The high involvement of mushroom producers in the Q&A session that followed was a good indication that automated systems for mushroom harvesting would be very welcome by the industry. There were concerns that a fully automated harvesting system has been promised for many years now and may not, in fact, be realistic. There definitely needs to be more collaboration between growers, scientists and robotics engineers to help define the role of automated harvesting in commercial mushroom production in the future.


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Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA),
The BioRobotics Institute
V.Le R. Piaggio, 34
56025 Pontedera,


Project Management

Project Coordinator
Matteo Cianchetti
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA), The BioRobotics Institute

Project Manager
Martina Maselli
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA), The BioRobotics Institute

Dissemination & Exploitation Manager
Marianna Vari
Twi Ellas Astiki Mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia

Project Info

Starting date: January 2021
Duration: 36 months
Funding: ~ 3 M€
Coordinator: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA),
The BioRobotics Institute
Partners: 6 from 5 EU countries

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 101017054