Dairy farmers and vets have enlisted the help of video gaming experts to enhance cow health in a unique new study.
The project aims to develop an artificial intelligence system that can recognise a cow by its skin patterns.
It will use a ‘hololens’ augmented reality (AR) headset to display health and productivity data about an animal as a user views it.
Typically, a vet or farmer faces the time-consuming process of examining a cow and then going to review records before determining what kind of intervention may be needed.
The Innovate UK-funded SmARtview research project would make this whole process more efficient and effective, researchers say.
Agri-EPI Centre and veterinary group VetPartners have joined forces with award-winning games developer Pocket Sized Hands and Abertay University’s School of Design & Informatics for the project.
“By using the type of technology that is becoming extremely advanced in the video gaming world, we hope to be able to take the care and treatment of dairy cattle into a new era," said Duncan Forbes, Agri-EPI head of dairy.
“The beauty of this project is that it combines farmers’ and vet’s experienced ‘eyes’ with real-time data: technology is being used to enhance, rather than replace, human skills."
In addition, the SmAtview project could provide a solution to one of the key challenges of on-farm technology, he said.
"While different devices like robotic milkers, sensors and collars can already collect plentiful data, its lack of integration limits insight to drive decision-making.”
The new system will be trialled by vets at VetPartners’ practices around the UK.