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Agriculture sector potential MEMS industry goldmine

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS sensors? MooMonitor? Dairymaster? accelerometer?

The farming industry might be the next big market for MEMS sensors, now that international bovine-gear manufacturer Dairy master is hawking a stylish micro-electro-mechanical system collar for cows called the MooMonitor.

With over 250 million dairy cows worldwide and over a billion each of sheep and pigs, the use of MEMS in the agricultural market could be a huge boost for the MEMS market. Dairymaster is pioneering the use of MEMS sensors with cows while startups such as Anemon are expanding from bovine into other livestock breeds.

Alissa Fitzgerald, founder of the MEMS product development company A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates LLC, stated that the MEMS industry should be taking a much closer look at agriculture and its related industries. She also added that agriculture could be the next big market opportunity for MEMS sensors.

Cows and MEMS

Dairymaster's MooMonitor tracks a herd, monitors each cows activity, letting them in and out of automatic doors and detects when they are ovulating.

MooMonitors contain a MEMS accelerometer to monitor activity as well as RFID tags that not only track a cow's whereabouts, but lets them in-and-out to pasture and milking facilities through automatic doors keyed to their collars. However, the big money saver, according to Dairymaster, is the MooMonitor's ability to interface with a smartphone app that notifies farmers when a cow is ovulating.

According to Dairymaster, ovulation happens at night the majority of the time, often not giving farmers enough time to get a bull to the scene for calf making. By monitoring the restlessness and temperature of cows at night, the app can notify farmers 24/7 as to which cow needs a bull tonight, potentially saving the U.S. dairy industry alone more than $300 million a year.

- R Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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