Introduction to non-invasive biometric sensors

As introduced in other articles, wide variety of available biometric sensors, which can monitor both behavioural and physiological parameters are either non-invasive or invasive.


Non-invasive sensors, which are installed around the barn, include surveillance cameras and sensors in the feeding systems to monitor animal weight and feed intake.  Non-invasive sensors also include sensors that can be easily attached to animals, such as pedometers, GPS and activity sensors, that can be used to monitor livestock behaviour. 

On the contrary, invasive sensors, typically are swallowed by or implanted in an animal and is useful for monitoring internal physiological measures, such as rumen health and body temperature.

Thermometers, accelerometers, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, microphones, and cameras are the most used non-invasive sensors for monitoring livestock animals. These allow farmers to monitor temperature, activity levels, sound levels in the barn (e.g. sneezing, and coughing) and specific behaviours (e.g., aggression in pigs).

Livestock farmers are increasingly utilizing RFID devices, which may be embedded in ear tags and collars or implanted under the skin, to monitor a wide variety of behaviours such as general activity, eating, and drinking.

Thermometers, along with physiological sensors, such as Thermal infrared (TIR) imaging, and heart rate monitors, can also measure stress in animals before being slaughtered and can be compared with meat quality metrics to improve the consistency and quality of consumer products. With the use of biometric sensors, researchers have been able to detect changes in heart rate in real time, in response to both positive and negative stressors, compare individual responses across animals, and track how heart rate changes over time in response to different stressors.

In a study with pigs, a negative stressor caused elevated heart rate for one minute following a loud noise. A positive stressor (a towel to play with) also caused elevated heart rate for two minutes after the stressor was provided. Heart rate monitors are also useful for monitoring overall health and metabolic energy production. Biometric sensors, such as photoplethysmographic (PPG) system, an optical technique used to detect volumetric changes in blood in peripheral circulation, can easily be attached to ear tags or other body parts to continuously monitor livestock heart rates.

Through these understandings of various methods to monitor livestock, our aim as Pales, is to support both the farmer’s and veterinaries’ needs to detect and prevent animals’ disease with near-real time monitoring and make possible to conduct early intervention.

Many devices are already available in the market, but the value we want to bring is the cost and the realization of least maintenance as possible, in order to save labour cost and time.


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