5G RuralFirst, a consortium led by Cisco, today released Me+Moo, a smartphone app that lets you choose your own “connected” cow (replete with a sensor-laden collar) and receive daily updates about your bovine friend of choice.
The project is not an act of whimsy: it is part of efforts to create (and drum up interest in) rural test-beds and trials for 5G wireless and mobile connectivity across three main sites in the Orkney Islands, Shropshire, and Somerset.
The 5G cows project is partly funded by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) as part of its wider 5G Testbed and Trial programme.
Partners include the University of Strathclyde, BBC, the Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre, Orkney Islands Council and Scottish Futures Trust.
The app is an educational tool “suitable for everyone from cow enthusiasts to tech-heads and agricultural workers” the 5G RuralFirst consortium said in a release today.
Those downloading can choose a cow from among the a 180-strong herd run on a commercial basis at the Agri-EPI Centre in Somerset. This is a heavily automated dairy farm (featuring robotised milking and an automated feed “kitchen”) that also functions as an R&D hub for agricultural technology.
(Among its projects are tests of an emerging system called Milkalyser that measures milk progesterone levels to map the overall ovulation cycle of each cow.)
5G Cows Project: What does Me+Moo do?
“Once a cow has been selected, app users will receive regular updates on everything from how the cows are eating to how they are sleeping using the data collected by 5G technology. Each cow has been given their own profile – similar to that you may see on a dating app – with their name and a “glimpse into their own specific personality,” the consortium said.
The app aims to also showcase technologies in use on the firm including:
Automated cow-sized brushes that start to rotate when a cow rubs up against them
Sensor operated curtains that open or close depending on the weather
Intelligent feeding system that adapts to each cow depending on how the
y like to eat
Automated milking systems that work when the cow chooses, not the farmer
The project is part of a mission to evolve more efficient business models for “nation-critical” industries such as agriculture, tourism, renewable energy and manufacturing that operate in rural environments, 5G RuralFirst said.
The cow-curious can download the app on iOS or Android.