Farmers can track cows and their health thanks to a new mobile technology

By Telecom Lead Team: The University of Strathclyde,
Morrisons, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), NMR, Harbro, Well Cow and
Embedded Technology Solutions are developing a mobile technology that enables
farmers to closely monitor the health of cows and sends the results back to


The new mobile phone technology is developed as part of a
three-year-project co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board. The Board has
given a substantial grant towards the 1.4 million pounds to develop
the technology.


The equipment involves each cow wearing an intelligent
collar that picks up on subtle movements with the same sensor used in Wii
gaming and generates a continuous record of their activity patterns.


Results will then be sent back using a range of wireless
technologies like 3G, with a full update accessible via a hub or even through a
mobile phone. Farmers can set up alerts for their phone to receive a text when
a cow is in distress, coming in to heat or entering labour.


Wireless technology means that the signal from the cow’s
collar would be accessible from anywhere, so farmers can check on their
cattle’s status using their phone wherever they are.


By sensing the cow’s head positions in three dimensions,
the collar will be able to detect if the animal’s hind legs begin to lower, one
of the initial signs of illness.


The sensor on the collar will detect when a cow is coming
into heat and alert the farmer so he can optimise the process of insemination,
increasing cow pregnancy rates. Without this technology, close monitoring of
each cow, which can take hours every day, is required to look for the signs of


It is essential that technology innovation, positive
social impact and economic development go hand in hand.  This exciting
project will contribute to all of these themes.  I am delighted to see
Embedded Technology Solutions Ltd progress so well and continue Strathclyde’s
extensive record of translating ground-breaking research into high value, high
quality products,” said Jim McDonald, principal of
the University of Strathclyde.


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