Ore.--Farm animals may be the next big thing for MEMS sensors, now that
international bovine-gear maker Dairymaster is hawking a stylish
micro-electro-mechanical system collar for cows called the MooMonitor.
stakes are huge, since there are over 250 million dairy cows worldwide,
according to the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board,
and over 1 billion each of sheep and pigs, according to the U.N. Food
and Agricultural Organization. Dairymaster (Kerry, Ireland) is
pioneering the use of MEMS sensors with cows while startups such as
Anemon (Saint-Imier, Switzerland) are expanding from bovine into other
MEMS industry should be taking a much closer look at agriculture and
its related industries," said Alissa Fitzgerald, founder of the MEMS
product development company A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates LLC
(Burlingame, Calif.) "Agriculture could potentially be the next big
market opportunity for MEMS sensors."
Dairymaster's MooMonitor tracks a herd, monitors each cows activity, letting them in and out of automatic doors and detects when they are ovulating.
contain a MEMS accelerometer to monitor activity as well as RFID tags
that not only track a cow's whereabouts, but lets them in-and-out to
pasture and milking facilities through automatic doors keyed to their
collars. However, the big money saver, according to Dairymaster, is the
MooMonitor's ability to interface with a smartphone app that notifies
farmers when a cow is ovulating.
to Dairymaster, ovulation happens at night the majority of the time,
often not giving farmers enough time to get a bull to the scene for calf
making. By monitoring the restlessness and temperature of cows at
night, the app can notify farmers 24/7 as to which cow needs a bull
tonight, potentially saving the U.S. dairy industry alone more than $300
million a year. Related stories:
RFID plus ovulation (estrus) detection tags for dairy cows have been commercially available since the 1980's. Until about 2000, all tags, from various companies, were manufactured under license of US Patent 4,247,758 and numerous foriegn patents. The motion sensor was a mercury switch.