University researchers promote new animal recognition technology

Jun 18, 2008

Two entrepreneurial researchers from The University of Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland, have taken their collaborative research further along the commercialisation pathway with their appearance tonight on the ABC's The New Inventors program.

Neal Finch (UQ) and Mark Dunn (USQ) have developed a novel animal recognition technology which uses solar panels, a mini computer and a webcam to separate cattle and sheep from feral animals and wildlife.

The patented technology will enable producers to ensure their livestock get the water and feed they need while reducing the grazing pressure on already drought-ravaged livestock properties.

The researchers have used Machine Vision Technology (MVT) to identify animals and control their movements through automated gates to access watering or feed points. It can distinguish between sheep, goats, cattle, horses, pigs, kangaroos and emus and has application for other species and uses.

In their pitch to the judging panel the researchers highlighted their innovation's unique benefits.

“The small, energy efficient hardware running the animal recognition software can also read Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which means individual tagged animals can be recognised,” said Neal Finch.

“Combining this technology with the ability to enclose a watering point and operate an automated gate provides an opportunity to manage large areas of the Australian rangelands in a revolutionary new way.

"If large enough areas have water access managed, then issues such as Total Grazing Pressure and feral animal control can be addressed without traditional culling methods like shooting or poisoning.”

Dr Peter Murray from UQ's School of Animal Studies, who has been supervising the four-year research project, believes one of the key commercial advantages of the technology is its potential to augment many of the tasks currently undertaken manually, representing a significant saving in labour costs.

“The system can be used to control the loss of feed and water to feral animals and increase farmers' productivity and efficiency in remote areas. It can be applied to a range of Australian conditions as well as overseas situations, such as large game reserves and national parks,” Dr Murray said.

The Federal Government has provided more than $600,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust to support the development and trial phases of the project. UniQuest, UQ's main technology transfer company is commercialising the technology.

UniQuest's Managing Director, David Henderson, said the promotion of the animal recognition technology on a program such as The New Inventors could generate significant interest for these new systems.

“Innovations like this technology are addressing very real problems. Some studies have estimated the costs to the pastoral industry caused by feral pigs and goats to be more than $300 million. Lamb losses can be as high as 30% each year,” Mr Henderson said.

“Negotiating investment and licensing contracts for university-based research helps to advance the product development and get it onto the market for end users much sooner.”

Rural Pacific Marketing (RPM), one of Australia's leading manufacturers and suppliers of livestock and rural equipment, is looking forward to commercialising the technology.

“With labour and diesel costs continuing to escalate, primary producers are trying to do more on their properties themselves as well as reduce their travel around their often extensive properties. This technology enables producers to do both,” said David Lynch, RPM CEO.

Source: The University of Queensland

Explore further: Researchers increase the switching contrast of an all-optical flip-flop

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hacker gets prison for cyberattack stealing $9.4M

47 minutes ago

An Estonian man who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a 2008 cyberattack on a credit card processing company that enabled hackers to steal $9.4 million has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta.

Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

1 hour ago

A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over ...

Icelandic volcano sits on massive magma hot spot

1 hour ago

Spectacular eruptions at Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland have been spewing lava continuously since Aug. 31. Massive amounts of erupting lava are connected to the destruction of supercontinents and ...

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

1 hour ago

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two ...

NBCUniversal settles with unpaid interns for $6.4M

2 hours ago

NBCUniversal will pay $6.4 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by unpaid interns who worked on "Saturday Night Live" and other shows who claim they are owed wages, according to court documents.

Recommended for you

Intelligent materials that work in space

Oct 23, 2014

ARQUIMEA, a company that began in the Business Incubator in the Science Park of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, will be testing technology it has developed in the International Space Station. The technology ...

Using sound to picture the world in a new way

Oct 22, 2014

Have you ever thought about using acoustics to collect data? The EAR-IT project has explored this possibility with various pioneering applications that impact on our daily lives. Monitoring traffic density ...

User comments : 0