Wimbledon fans, who consume 34 thousand kilos of strawberries every year, could one day get their strawberries picked by a small group of new robots, developed in Europe, that use photonics to detect a fruit.

It would take just 14 of these new robots less than seven days to gather enough berries for the championships.

The Rubion Bot picks and packages ripe strawberries, bruise-free every five seconds with its delicate clasping mechanism, and has the ability to deliver between 180 and 360 kilograms every single day.

Depending on the skill and experience, an enthusiastic human picker can collect around 50 kilograms in a day but will need to take breaks and be prepared to work for very little. From beneath, the robot picks individual strawberries grown in raised bedding a few feet off the floor and can sort the fruits by size or weight and pack into punnets as it goes along.

While collecting apples and other hard fruits has often taken a more straightforward mechanical approach, literally shaking crops and collecting them off the ground having fallen, the automated picking of berries has always suffered from drawbacks owing to the delicate nature of the fruit.

The robots were developed by Octinion, collaborating with Actphast 4.0. Peter Doyle, central outreach coordinator, said: "It was a real buzz in helping to develop the key photonics components that ultimately realised the robotic strawberry picker."