Cows on Russian Farm Get Fitted with VR Goggles to Increase Milk Production

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The VR goggles were made to fit the cows' heads. [Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region]

If you walked onto the RusMoloko dairy farm near Moscow, in Russia, you may think you’ve arrived onto a bizarre futuristic film set, where cows run around fitted with VR headsets.

The VR goggles aren’t props for a film, however. They have been specifically made for these dairy cows, so as to improve their conditions and enable them to relax into producing more milk.

Many different industries around the world are turning more and more toward computerization to improve working conditions, so why not the farming industry too?

VR headsets as a useful productivity tool

These headsets were carefully designed by combining years of experience in the dairy farming industry, as well as technology.

The pressing issue of milk production led to experts from the IT world, as well as industry leaders in milk production to work together to find a solution.

This solution was VR goggles.

Aside from the cows’ physical needs, the researchers also looked into the animals’ emotional state. Examples of dairy farms around the world were taken into account, with a clear sign of higher and better quality milk production from those that had a calm atmosphere.

For instance, in some American dairy farms, farmers install rotating brushes in the cows’ stalls, which provide an alternative to massaging the animals. In Europe, farmers use robotic systems that enable the cows to roam more freely and broadly. And in Russia, some farms play classical music on loudspeakers around the farm, which soothes the cows. All of these methods have been proven to help the cows to relax, and provide more milk.

VR headsets on cows don’t seem so far-fetched any longer.

The VR headsets
These VR goggles were carefully designed by developers in a VR studio, alongside veterinarians. Taking into account the structural features of the cows’ heads, the typically human-fitting VR goggles were adapted to work for cows.

The team ensured to create VR views that work with a cow’s vision, for instance, their higher perception of the color red but weaker tones of blue and green were taken into account. The virtual reality architects also designed a unique program for simulating green summer fields.

How did the cows react?

After wearing their headsets, experts recorded that the cows displayed a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the general mood of the herd. Further studies need to be conducted to determine whether or not more milk has been produced through the effects of wearing the VR goggles.

Modern technology and dairy farming could have a lasting effect if this next study proves to be positive.

If all goes to plan, we may end up seeing flocks of sheep, herds of cows, and sounders of swine moving about with VR goggles in the near future.

[Interesting Engineering]

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