Wearables

Smart ear tag may save ranchers time and money

Smart ear tag may save rancher...
Plans call for the Ceres Tag to be made smaller and lighter, and to also incorporate a body-temperature sensor
Plans call for the Ceres Tag to be made smaller and lighter, and to also incorporate a body-temperature sensor
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Plans call for the Ceres Tag to be made smaller and lighter, and to also incorporate a body-temperature sensor
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Plans call for the Ceres Tag to be made smaller and lighter, and to also incorporate a body-temperature sensor
Group leader Dr. Ed Charmley, with one of the Ceres Tags
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Group leader Dr. Ed Charmley, with one of the Ceres Tags
CSIRO's Mel Matthews shows off a Ceres Tag and its applicator
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CSIRO's Mel Matthews shows off a Ceres Tag and its applicator
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Australian cattle stations (aka ranches) can be thousands of square kilometres in area, so checking on all the cows is a huge task. With that in mind, the CSIRO national science agency has teamed up with agtech startup Ceres Tag to develop an ear tag that not only tracks the animals' whereabouts, but also detects unusual activity.

Designed to last the lifetime of the animal, the weatherproof tag is powered by a built-in solar panel, and is equipped with a GPS unit – the latter allows ranchers to locate individual cows via a web portal on their computer. This in turn lets them know where the herd is grazing, and if any of its members have escaped or been stolen. Ordinarily, surveys by aircraft or off-road vehicles are required for this purpose.

The tags additionally utilize integrated accelerometers to detect the telltale unusual movements associated with cows being sick, giving birth, or reacting to "disturbances in the herd." If such movements are detected, or if a theft/escape is detected by the GPS, the rancher is alerted via their computer or smartphone.

Group leader Dr. Ed Charmley, with one of the Ceres Tags
Group leader Dr. Ed Charmley, with one of the Ceres Tags

Last week, the technology was successfully field-tested on 100 cattle at CSIRO's Lansdown Research Station near Townsville, Queensland. Plans now call for making the tags smaller and lighter, along with adding a body-temperature sensor that would allow for earlier warnings of illnesses.

"Aussie farmers need every bit of help they can get right now, so we are pleased it has taken less than a year for this technology to move from the research phase into development for a real-world trial on cattle," says CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) group leader Dr. Ed Charmley.

Sources: CSIRO, Ceres Tag

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3 comments
f8lee
Now we need to do that to kids in schools...
CAVUMark
How about something similar with politicians, add in voting record and a lie detector.
piperTom
Responding to CAVUMark: if we put lie detectors on politicians, the beeping would keep us awake all and every night. Put TRUTH detectors on the politicians -- then the only noise is from people pushing the reset buttons and saying "is this thing on?"