Moocall

Sensor Emmet Savage & Niall Austin (IE)

Moocall is a calving sensor worn on a cow’s tail that measures over six hundred data points every second to determine the onset of calving. The device then sends a text alert to two mobile phones roughly an hour before calving, to ensure that the cattle breeder can be on location when a calf is born.

Moocall was invented when Irish farmer Niall Austin lost a calf and a cow due to an unexpected difficult calving. He believed that this could have been prevented if he had been there to assist and began looking for a solution. He did not want to use an invasive device and believed tail movement could help anticipate calving. Moocall removes the need for farmers to keep vigil over pregnant cows and helps increase live births and farm profitability. The device, which can be moved simply from cow to cow once calving takes place, uses 3D motion sensors, algorithms, and an embedded SIM card that connects to the phone network.

Extensive on-the-farm prototyping helped shape the design and build of Moocall, resulting in a device strong enough to “counter the cow’s natural curiosity to eat, lick and crush the Moocall units” and a battery that lasts up to thirty days.

Profile

Created by Irish farmer Niall Austin, with help from Irish technology partners Motech Engineering and Dolmen, Moocall launched commercially in Ireland in January 2015 after four years of product development and prototyping. Moocall has been the winner of numerous design awards, including the Red Dot award. Moocall was nominated for London’s Design Museum Design of the Year award in 2015. To date, Moocall has sold devices to over 2,500 farms across sixteen countries. An estimated 25,000 calves have already been born using Moocall.

The Farm Cyborg section of the exhibition explores how over the last decade we have begun outfitting plants, landscapes and animals with sensors, actuators and wearable computers.