Augmented reality allows seamless pairing of cows and their data
A new view for herd stats
The more information you have about your cows, the better, and having that information at your fingertips makes it even more valuable. Dairy farmers have seen this as they’ve gone from keeping paper records, to entering them on a desktop computer in the office, and now to doing the work on the go using tablets and smartphones.
The next step is going hands-free.
One technology company is working to integrate information seamlessly with everyday herd management, using augmented reality that merges the real world with the virtual to display a cow’s statistics virtually above her.
“We’re always on the lookout for new technology to help farmers be more productive and efficient – to make work more enjoyable,” said Roxie Muller.
Muller is innovation manager at Nedap Livestock Management, a Dutch ag company that enables farmers to automate everyday tasks and make informed decisions based on individual animal identification and data.
He was scheduled to speak about bringing herd insights to life with augmented reality at the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls before COVID-19 caused the event to be canceled.
He spoke with the Tri-State Neighbor over a video chat, describing his vision for enhancing the way we interact with technology. With augmented reality in the dairy barn, wearable technology for both the cows and farmers make it happen. The cows wear collars fit with a device that monitors their behavior. Data is transmitted wirelessly and insights on the cow’s fertility, health and location are created and presented to farmers, allowing them to know what’s going on and spend their time on cows that need attention. This solution is used all around the world and called Nedap CowControl.
Combing those herd insights with augmented reality, the farmer can access this data while wearing special goggles that project relevant information about that specific cow above each animal.
A farmer can sift through information and information into the system on the spot with the swipe of a hand or by voice command. No need to go to the office and update records afterward.
“It’s pretty much like a personal assistant, giving you relevant information to the task you are performing and allowing you to interact with the system by pressing a virtual button,” Muller said.
Nedap has been developing the technology since 2017 and testing it at a couple farms in the Netherlands, but it’s not for sale yet. The augmented reality goggles are one hurdle. Nedap doesn’t develop devices. Its technology currently runs on a Microsoft HoloLens, which Muller said needs to be lighter and more robust for use on the farm. Still, he’s excited about the opportunity to make the way we interact with data more intuitive and useful. “It can really contribute to bridging the gap between the technology world and the farmer’s world,” he said.