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Improving horse health the MEMS way

Posted: 17 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Horse Sense Shoes? MEMS? Freescale? sensor?

In the same way that Dairymaster penetrated the Internet of Things (IoT) space two years ago with its MooMonitor to track herds, monitoring each cow's activity, letting them in and out of automatic doors and detecting when they are ovulating, Horse Sense's Pegasus is doing the same thing, and more, but this time for horses.

Pegasus are MEMS-based devices attached on a horse's tail that sense everything the cow's collar (MooMonitor) does plus the horse's temperature, which is especially important for high value horses. There are about 250 million cows worldwide, but only 59 million horses. However, the average worth of the equine population is much higher than the bovine population. Horses bred for racing can be worth millions of dollars.

Ian Chen

Ian Chen, sensor solutions division marketing at Freescale, describes how its MEMS chips enable the Pegasus from Horse Sense Shoes can monitor a horse's posture, exercise patterns, behaviours and temperature 24/7/365 and send automatic alerts to veterinarians before problems develop. (Source: Horse Sense, used with permission)

The tough thing about keeping horses healthy is that their temperature needs to be measured multiple times per week, and the only reliable way to do it is with a rectal thermometer. You would think that they would get used to this, but they don't. Every time it takes two people, plus restraining their back legs to prevent them from kicking the guy inserting the horse rectal thermometer.

Pegasus MEMS module

The Pegasus MEMS module tracts expensive racehorses 24/7/365 for temperature, posture, exercise, transport keeping real-time catalogues, producing daily, weekly and monthly logs with automatic texting of alerts to owners and veterinarian. (Source: Horse Sense, used with permission)

With the Pegasus MEMS system, however, a temperature measurement is made every time the horse passes flatulence, which anybody who has been around horses knows is many times a day. Plus the horse's activity, sleeping habits, posture and more can be determined but the Freescale inertial sensors also housed by Pegasus.

Talking horses

The official name of Horse Sense is Horse Sense Shoes LLC (a division of HSS Global Group Inc.) because their original idea was to put the sensor in the horses shoes, which turned out not to be the right place, so now they have abbreviated it to Horse Sense (although adding the Shoes is still the official designation, and who knows maybe someday they will fulfill the prophesy and manufacture smart shoes).

The sensors used inside the Pegasus are Freescale's who like to joke that "now your horse can speak" like Mr. Ed. But seriously, more than 80 per cent of the racing horse accidents are caused by joint issues that were undiscovered until race time, leading to needless tragedies, according to Horse Sense.

Pegasus equine monitor

The Pegasus equine monitor is attached to the horse's tail by threading it through a slot on the back and pushing up to the top of the tail. (Source: Horse Sense, used with permission)

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