When machines replace people: farming edition

by Caitlin Nobes26 Oct 2012

Good business is all about efficiency, and that often means streamlining and automating as much as possible. Researchers spend a lot of time figuring out not only how to get more out of the staff you have, but also how to replace some basic tasks with machines.

Two separate teams of Swiss researchers are focused on making life easier for farmers. The first is hoping farmers won’t have to hire as many shepherds thanks to their new heart rate monitors, which were actually designed for sheep.

The theory goes that when predators approach, a sheep’s heart rate with increase. This sets off an alarm summoning the shepherd to the scene.

That’s not nearly as intrusive for the sheep as a Bern technical college design, which places thermometers on cow’s genitals so farmers can receive a text message with that specific cow is ready for mating. The long term goal there is efficiency of resources, rather than reducing staff. Since most insemination is done artificially, farmers will see a higher success rate and can reduce the supply of bull semen they need to keep in inventory.