In Echem, Germany researchers from the agricultural training centre developed goggles through which the person who wears them can experience how a cow sees its surroundings and thus having a greater understanding for the animals during handling. The researchers studied the cow's vision in detail and developed Virtual Reality (VR) goggles mimicking the cows vision. The goggles enable the viewer to see how a cow would perceive its surroundings in certain situations, e.g.. when entering a confined space, like a claw stall or changing to a lighter or darker environment.
Cows have a wider field of vision compared to humans, but see their environment less sharp. The system reproduces this fact using two wide-angle cameras. The eyes of a cow also need longer to adjust to differences in lighting compared to humans. The VR goggles also reproduce this fact via light-sensitive cameras and thus let to the person wearing the goggles experience why for example cows first stop after leaving the barn entering a different light condition.
Seeing the world through cow’s eyes via these goggles will help in understanding how cows react in certain situations. A better understanding of the animals behaviour also helps to prevent dangerous situations and increases safety for cows and their handlers.
- Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen. Pressemitteilung: Kuhbrille der Landwirtschaftskammer gewinnt Digitalisierungspreis des Landes Niedersachsen. https://www.lwk-niedersachsen.de/lwk/news/36183_Kuhbrille_der_Landwirtschaftskammer_gewinnt_Digitalisierungspreis_des_Landes_Niedersachsen
Video: Landwirtschaftskammer NÖ: Die Umwelt der Kuh erleben (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3uJJ7KXuas) This Video shows everyday situations from the perspective of a cow.
- Socio-economic resilience: The experience and the benefits derived from it cannot be valued in monetary terms.
- animal health and welfare: Good animal handling is needed for animal welfare and comfort, thus this tool is beneficairy here.
- Production efficiency and meat quality: By experiencing the world with cows eyes the handler can improve his handling skills and thus save labour time in the end.