Hotline to the cowshed

Sep 08, 2008

A wireless measuring system, consisting of sensors and transmission units, helps to keep livestock healthier with a minimum use of resources.

Gone are the good old days when farmers knew all their cows by name. There is little time left for the animals in today's dairy industry. And it is easy to overlook the first signs of disease. This situation can now be remedied by a tiny sensor in the cow's rumen, which monitors the animal's state of health and raises the alarm in good time. The system determines the pH level and the temperature inside the cow's rumen.

The data are wirelessly transmitted to an external receiver module in the animal's collar via an encapsulated measuring probe. A network of sensors forwards the signals to a central database. The farmer immediately receives a warning if the readings are above or below a reference value. At present, the pH level in the rumen can only be measured via pharyngeal probes.

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg have developed the new system, which they can also adapt to numerous other applications in agriculture and forestry. The network nodes contain all of the components needed for connecting sensors and actuators. Radio modules of this kind have a long service life due to their low energy consumption. They are capable of autonomous networking, and do not require supervision or a special infrastructure.

The system is a joint development by partners in Germany and the Netherlands. The cross-border project is co-financed by the EU program INTERREG IIIA in the Rhine-Waal region, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Gelderland province. The new measuring system is slated to go into service as of mid-2008, and will be tested on pilot farms run by the Lower Rhine Chamber of Agriculture and in other research establishments.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Putting a value on what nature does for us

24 minutes ago

A new online resource, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge in collaboration with other organisations based in Cambridge, helps those in both the public and private sector see how changes ...

Religious acceptance of homosexuals on the rise

54 minutes ago

The willingness of religious congregations to welcome homosexuals as members—and place them in leadership positions—is on the rise, according to a new Duke University study.

Lessons for saving our forests

1 hour ago

In late July, UC Berkeley fire ecologist Scott Stephens was working in Stanislaus National Forest, gathering data on how a century had altered its character. What he saw were the signs of a clear and present ...

What's at stake with Windows 9?

1 hour ago

When Microsoft presents its first public glimpse of Windows 9 - it's expected to happen late this month or early next - a lot more than just an operating system is at stake.

Recommended for you

A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

Sep 14, 2014

Darkside Scientific recently drew a lot of gazes its way in its video release of a car treated to the company's electroluminescent paint called LumiLor. Electroluminescence (EL) is a characteristic of a material ...

Research project on accident-avoiding vehicle concluded

Sep 12, 2014

PRORETA 3 is completed after three and a half years of research work: The comprehensive driver assistance and automated maneuver concept supports the driver in keeping the vehicle in a safe driving corridor- ...

Making drones more customizable

Sep 12, 2014

A first-ever standard "operating system" for drones, developed by a startup with MIT roots, could soon help manufacturers easily design and customize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for multiple applications.

User comments : 0