Cattle Could Soon Start Wearing These Self-Charging Smart Sensors At Future Ranches

Researchers at the Southwest Jiaotong University in China have designed a smart-watch-styled sensor for cattle that can be powered by their movements and manage information needed to maintain food safety and supply chain efficiency, a press release said.

Ever since low-cost sensors have become available, new gadgets have been springing up for health monitoring at a personal level. 

However, using electrically chargeable devices is rather impractical on a large scale and that’s where a self self-charging sensor comes in.

The sensors for the cattle would be tied around their ankles or even their necks. The charging takes place every time the animal moves around the ranch doing its regular activities.

 “There is a tremendous amount of kinetic energy that can be harvested in cattle’s daily movements, such as walking, running, and even neck movement,” said Yajia Pan, an energy researcher at Southwest Jiaotong University in the press release.

The energy harvester can use even the weakest of kinetic motions to charge up the lithium battery of the sensor. This has been enabled with the use of a motion enhancement mechanism using magnets and a pendulum that amplifies the small movements the animal makes.

The researchers’ vision for the device is to deploy it to monitor information such as oxygen concentration, air temperature, humidity, amount of exercise, reproductive cycles, milk production, diseases, and much more.

This, together with 5G technology, will help in developing a ranch-wide environmental and health monitoring system that can monitor cattle for their health, prevent diseases and improve the efficiency of cattle breeding and management, the press release added.

The technology can be adapted for use in sports monitoring, healthcare as well as the construction of human wireless sensor networks, the press release said. 

“Kinetic energy is everywhere in the environment—leaves swaying in the wind, the movement of people and animals, the undulation of waves, the rotation of the earth—these phenomena all contain a lot of kinetic energy,” said Zutao Zhang another researcher at the university, “We shouldn’t let this energy go to waste.”

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