The problem: producing milk is stressful. So stressful, in fact, that it can make outward signs that a cow is in heat all but impossible to spot. The solution: vaginal text messages. Thanks to some handy new heat-sensing tech, cows are now capable of broadcasting SMS messages with their genitals to alert farmers that they are sexually active and receptive to insemination, artificial or otherwise. The future is NOW, people.
[Swiss farmer Christian Oesch]... [who] cares for a herd of 44 Red Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, is helping to test a device that implants sensors in cows to let farmers know when they are in heat. When that is the case, the device sends an SMS to the farmer's phone. The Swiss do not settle for half measures: the SMS can be in any one of Switzerland's three main languages - German, French and Italian - plus English or Spanish.
If there is anything to be learned from this project, which will bring the devices to market early next year, it is that Heidi's world of goats - or cows - placidly grazing in Alpine meadows is gradually becoming the stuff of storybooks.
The sensor implanted in the genitals of Fiona or Bella (favorite names for Swiss cows) measures body heat, then transmits the result to a sensor affixed to the cow's neck that measures body motion. (Cows in heat become restless.) "The results are combined, using algorithms, and if the cow is in heat an SMS is sent to the farmer," said Claude Brielmann, a computer specialist who helped design the system. The detector on the cow's neck is equipped with a SIM card so the farmer can pay for the calls.
The apparatus is reportedly accurate about 90% of the time. That's pretty impressive, but it's done little to assuage the concerns of animal rights advocates, who have expressed concern over the stressful conditions that have made genital-texts necessary in the first place.
Check out many more details over at The New York Times.