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IoT necklace helps farmers identify sick cows

Cow monitor helping dairy farmers keep cows healthy.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Cow got a cold? There’s a monitor for that, created to give dairy farmers early warning that their cows may be sick and need treatment.

The dairy analytics monitor goes around the neck of the dairy cows and can sense symptoms of heat stress, milk fever, and bovine respiratory disease (BRD). The monitor is a cow necklace that tracks the cow’s temperature and if the cow coughs. It also tracks weather, mostly by tracking humidity. Weather can affect cows’ health.

All the collected data is sent to the cloud, where farmers can access it using their cell phones. Farmers get a smartphone alert when data indicates that a cow is stressed, such as a precipitous drop in temperature or a change in ambient humidity. The system uses Bluetooth and an in-memory data cube for edge processing closer to the sensors. Once the data is on the cloud, the dairy analytics platform takes over to analyze the data through a patten detection and recommendation engine.

The system uses machine learning to develop a decision model that equates the inputs like water intake, humidity and other environment factors with the dairy’s output so the system can offer a prediction of milk output to the farmer.

Chandrasekar Vuppalapati, the founder and CTO of Fremont, Calif.,-based HanuInno Tech, inc. and a professor at San Jose State University, designed the sensor in the system. He said heat stress in cows alone costs $1 billion annually in lost revenue for the dairy industry worldwide. He hopes his devices yields operational efficiencies and cost savings by helping farmers know which cows to treat.

More than 2,600 cow monitors are deployed in the U.S. and over 6,000 in India.

Vuppalapati said his students did all the work on the monitor. Three of his students were at the recent IoT DevCon and Machine Learning conference in Santa Clara, Calif. Inspired by their teacher, students did the heavy lifting in creating the system based on Vuppalapati’s idea. “They did this,” said Vuppalapati.

“It was his idea,” said the three engineers in unison. “We just figured out how to do it.”

Cow monitor
Chandrasekar Vuppalapati, the founder and CTO of HanuInno Tech, Inc. with (left to right) Archana Ramalingam, Sneha Iyer, and Surbhi Rautji.

The company is looking at subscription models where a farm pays $40 to $60 a month to monitor a yet-to-be-determined number of cows.

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