Long He, Ph.D.

Long He, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Fruit Research and Extension Center
Musselman Building Room 223

Biglerville, PA 17037

Areas of Expertise

  • Mechanization and Automation for Specialty Crops
  • Robotic Solutions for Agricultural Applications
  • Precision Agriculture
  • Electro-Hydraulic Control System


  • PhD, Mechatronics Engineering, Yanshan University (YSU), China, 01/2010
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Yanshan University (YSU), China, 07/2003

Dr. Long He is a Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and physically located at the Fruit Research and Extension Center at Biglerville. He received his Ph.D. degree on Mechatronic Engineering at Yanshan University in China. Before joining Penn State, Dr. He worked as Postdoc Research Associate/Research Engineering at Washington State University and University of California at Davis. Dr. He's research interest is agricultural machinery and automation, including mechanical harvesting technologies for tree fruit crops, robotic solutions for agricultural application, and sensor application in agriculture.

Research Topics and Projects

1. Robotic Crop Load Management

     Goal: Develop robotic solutions for improved tree fruit yield and quality

  • Green fruit removal dynamics and robotic green fruit thinning system (USDA-AFRI, 2020-2023, PI)
  • Precision crop load management for apples (USDA-SCRI, Led by Cornell, 2020-2024, PI for PSU)
  • Advancing robotic approaches to pollination for improved yield and quality in fruit crops (USDA-AMS, Specialty Crop Multi-State, Led by WSU, 2020-2023, PI for PSU)
  • CPS: Medium: Integrated design of sensing, networks, and cooperative control of multi-vehicle systems for preventing frost and freeze damage to flowers and buds of fruit trees. National Science Foundation. (NSF/USDA, 2019-2022, Co-PI)
  • Targeted blossom/green fruit thinning with variable rate sprayer (State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania (SHAP), 2020-2021, PI)

2. Precision Application for Specialty Crops

      Goal: Develop sensor-based systems for reducing agricultural inputs and costs

  • An intelligent spraying system for tree fruit crops pest management: technology enhancement, evaluation, and outreach. (USDA-NIFA, 2019-2021, PI) 
  • Precision and automated pest/disease management for tree fruit crops. (Penn State SNIP Grant, 2018-2019, PI) 
  • Sensor-based precision irrigation system for tree fruit and vegetable crops. (USDA Northeast SARE, 2019-2022, PI) 
  • A sensor-based irrigation test system for apple orchards. (SHAP, 2018-2020, PI)
  • Crop Heath Scouting and Identification for Fruit Orchards using UAVs (SHAP, 2020-2021, PI)

3. Robotic Solutions for Specialty Crops

     Goal: Develop robotic/mechanical systems for specialty crop productions

  • Robotic pruning system development for fruit trees (USDA-SARE Graduate, Penn State Sunday Grant, 2019-2021, PI)
  • Development of a computer vision and a robotic end-effector for automated harvesting of Pennsylvania mushroom. (Giorgi Funds for Mushroom Research, 2018-2020, Co-PI) 
  • Branch and fruit accessibility for mechanical operations with various tree canopies. (SHAP, 2019-2021, PI) 

4. Mechanization for Specialty Crops (focus on Extension)

     Goal: Mechanization and commercialization

  • A harvest-assist system for tree fruit growers: performance analysis, workforce development, and product enhancement. (Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, 2019-2022, PI) 

Selected Publication

  • Hussain, M., He, L., Schupp, J. and Heinemann, P. 2022. Green Fruit Removal Dynamics for Robotic Green Fruit Thinning End-Effector Development. Journal of the ASABE (In press).
  • Zhang, H., He, L., Di Gioia, F., Choi, D., Elia, A. and Heinemann, P. 2022. LoRaWAN based internet of things (IoT) system for precision irrigation in plasticulture fresh-market tomato. Smart Agricultural Technology2, p.100053.

  • Zahid, A., Mahmud, M.S., He, L., Schupp, J., Choi, D. and Heinemann, P. 2022. An Apple Tree Branch Pruning Analysis. HortTechnology32(2), pp.90-98.
  • Huang, M., He, L., Choi, D., Pecchia, J. and Li, Y. 2021. Picking dynamic analysis for robotic harvesting of Agaricus bisporus mushrooms. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture185, 106145.
  • Huang, M., Jiang, X., He, L., Choi, D., Pecchia, J. and Li, Y. 2021. Development of A Robotic Harvesting Mechanism for Button Mushrooms. Transactions of the ASABE, 64(2), 565-575.

  • Mahmud, M.S., Zahid, A., He, L., Choi, D., Krawczyk, G., Zhu, H. and Heinemann, P. 2021. Development of a LiDAR-guided section-based tree canopy density measurement system for precision spray applications. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture182, 106053.
  • Jiang, X. and He, L. 2021. Investigation of Effective Irrigation Strategies for High-Density Apple Orchards in Pennsylvania. Agronomy11(4), 732.
  • Zahid, A., Mahmud, M.S., He, L., Choi, D., Heinemann, P., and Schupp, J. 2020. Development of an integrated 3R end-effector with a cartesian manipulator for pruning apple trees. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture179, 105837.
  • Zeng, L., Feng, J., and He, L. 2020. Semantic segmentation of sparse 3D point cloud based on geometrical features for trellis-structured apple orchard. Biosystems Engineering, 196, 46-55.
  • Zhang, X., He, L., Zhang, J., Whiting, MD., Karkee, M., and Zhang, Q. 2020. Determination of key canopy parameters for mass mechanical apple harvesting using supervised machine learning and principal component analysis (PCA). Biosystems Engineering, 193, 247-263.
  • Zahid A., He, L., Choi, D., Schupp, J., and Heinemann, P. 2020. Development of a robotic end-effector for apple tree pruning. Transactions of the ASABE, 63(4), 847-856.
  • Zhang, X., He, L., Whiting, MD., Karkee, M., and Zhang, Q. 2020. Filed evaluation of targeted shake-and-catch harvesting technologies for fresh market apples. Transactions of the ASABE, 63(6), 1759-1771.
  • Fu, H., Karkee, M., He, L., Duan, J., and Zhang, Q. 2020. Bruise patterns of fresh market apples caused by fruit-to-fruit impact. Agronomy, 10(1), 59. 
  • He, L., Zhang, X., Ye, Y., Karkee, M. and Zhang, Q., 2019. Effect of shaking location and duration on mechanical harvesting of fresh market apples. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 35(2), 175-183.
  • Feng, J., Zeng, L., and He, L. 2019. Apple fruit recognition algorithm based on multi-spectral dynamic image analysis. Sensors, 19(4), 949. 
  • He, L. and Schupp, J., 2018. Sensing and Automation in Pruning of Apple Trees: A Review. Agronomy, 8(10), p.211.
  • Zhang, J., He, L., Karkee, M., Zhang, Q., Zhang, X. and Gao, Z., 2018. Branch detection for apple trees trained in fruiting wall architecture using depth features and Regions-Convolutional Neural Network (R-CNN). Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 155, pp.386-393.
  • Zhang, X., He, L., Majeed, Y., Whiting, M.D., Karkee, M. and Zhang, Q., 2018. A Precision Pruning Strategy for Improving Efficiency of Vibratory Mechanical Harvesting of Apples. Transactions of the ASABE, 61(5), 1565-1576.
  • Ye, Y., L. He, Z. Wang, G. Hollinger, M. Taylor, and Q. Zhang. 2018. Orchard maneuvering strategy for a robotic bin-handling machine. Biosystems Engineering, 169, 85-103.
  • He, L., H. Fu, D. Sun, M. Karkee, and Q. Zhang. 2017. A shake and catch harvesting system for trellis trained apple trees. Transactions of the ASABE, 60(2).
  • He, L., H. Fu, M. Karkee, and Q. Zhang. 2017. Effect of fruit location on apple detachment with mechanical shaking. Biosystems Engineering, 157.
  • He L., H. Fu, H. Xia, M. Karkee, Q. Zhang, and M. Whiting. 2017. Evaluation of a localized shake-and-catch harvesting for fresh market apples. Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal,19(4), pp.36-44.
  • Fu, H., L. He, S. Ma, M. Karkee, Q. Zhang, and S. Wang. 2017. 'Jazz' apple impact bruise responses to different cushioning materials. Transactions of the ASABE, 60(2).
  • Ye, Y., Z. Wang, D. Jones, L. He, M.E. Taylor, G.A. Hollinger, and Q. Zhang. 2017. Bin-Dog: A Robotic Platform for Bin Management in Orchards. Robotics, 6(2).
  • He, L., J. Zhou, Q. Zhang, and H. J. Charvet. 2016. A String Twining Robot for High Trellis Hop Production. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 121.
  • Zhou, J., L. He, M. Karkee, and Q. Zhang. 2016. Effect of Catching Surface and Tilt Angle on Bruise Damage of Sweet Cherry due to Mechanical Impact. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 121.
  • Vougioukas, S. G., L. He, R. Arikapudi. 2016. Orchard worker localization relative to a vehicle using radio ranging and trilateration. Biosystems Engineering, 147.
  • Zhou, J., L. He, M. Karkee, and Q. Zhang. 2016. Analysis of Shaking-Induced Cherry Fruit Motion and Damage. Biosystems Engineering, 144.
  • Zhou, J., L. He, M. Whiting, S. Amatya, P. Larbi, M. Karkee, and Q. Zhang. 2016. Field evaluation of a mechanical-assist harvesting system. Engineering in Agriculture, Environment and Food, 9(4).
  • He, L., J. Zhou, Q. Zhang, and M. Karkee. 2015. Evaluation of Multi-Pass Mechanical Harvesting on 'Skeena' Sweet Cherries Trained to Y-trellis. HortScience, 50(8).
  • Zhou, J., L. He, Q. Zhang, and M. Karkee. 2014. Effect of Excitation Position of a Handheld Shaker on Fruit Removal Efficiency and Damage in Mechanical Harvesting of Sweet Cherry. Biosystems Engineering, 115.
  • He, L., Q. Zhang, and H. J. Charvet. 2013. A Robotic Knot-tying End- Effector for Hop Twining. Biosystems Engineering, 114 (3).
  • He, L., J. Zhou, X. Du, D. Chen, Q. Zhang, and M. Karkee. 2013. Energy Efficacy Analysis of a Mechanical Shaker in Sweet Cherry Harvesting. Biosystems Engineering, 116(4).
  • Zhou, J., L. He, Q. Zhang, X. Du, D. Chen, and M. Karkee. 2013. Evaluation of the Influence of Shaking Frequency and Duration in Mechanical Harvesting of Sweet Cherry. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 29(5).
  • He, L., Q. Zhang, X. Du, R. Luo, and M. Karkee. 2012. A Twining Robot for High Trellis String Tying in Hop Production. Transactions of the ASABE, 55(5).


  • Zhang, Q., L. He, H. J. Charvet. 2013. Knot-tying device and method. U.S. Patent. US 8,573,656 B1
  • Vougioukas, S., D. Slaughter, D. Sadowski, L. He, A. Durand-Petiteville. 2015/2020. Automated strawberry orientating and capping machine. International Patent No. WO/2017/019775 A1 (2015); U.S. Patent. US 10,729,167 (2020).