The apple sorting site: A case of design of living things | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2056-6522
  • E-ISSN: 2056-6530



This article describes the apple as a designed product, while the process of sorting apples is viewed as design: In this process, an unclear mix of apples is turned into categories of neatly describable homogeneous apples. The course of action of apple sorting in an automated site is described, where digital datasets of images of the fruit are analysed automatically and serve as the basis for categorizing the fruit into sorting groups. The aim is to determine the underlying values that shape the process of apple sorting, comparing the requirements of the EU marketing standards to the more differentiated and demanding sorting groups observable in practice. Sorting as a control step becomes necessary to assign the contingent fruit taken from the plant into precisely specified categories. The analysis of the visual appearance of the fruit leads to conclusions about their quality and economic value. Here, apple sorting is viewed as a case of the design of living things in order to investigate the values that guide human intervention in living organisms. Additionally, apple sorting is also a case of Food Design that shows how even the most ‘natural’ food products are designed.


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