Scientists accidentally discovered that animals have such unique features that they can actually be recognized as individuals by facial recognition software.
Kansas State University animal scientist K.C. Olson is among a team of researchers that have been gathering data from thousands of cows, and feeding that data into artificial intelligence programs. The team plans on developing a cell phone app that will work like facial recognition, but for cows, so farmers can more easily tell their animals apart.
“You simply position the cell phone camera in front of an animal. When the conditions are right, as judged by the app, it will snap a series of pictures, it will put a GPS stamp on each one and a date stamp on each one. Those are automatically uploaded to a secure cloud database,” Olson told Radio Iowa.
Olson said that the app can help farmers ensure the security and health of their animals.
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“Any subsequent time that another producer, another owner, would be curious about the origins of a particular calf, they could use the same app, take the pictures, upload those to the database. The information that they would then receive is when the animal was read into the system and where, physically where the animal was when it was read into the system,” he says.
The technology works the same way it does in humans, by finding intricate measurements and patterns in a person’s face.
“Later on, when that human being needs to get on a flight or something similar, they can have hat on, they can have glasses on, they could have grown facial hair, they could have grown older, but that technology is capable of nearly 100 percent accurate read rate,” he says. “The thinking here is that why couldn’t we have something like that for beef cattle.”
Olson says that his team also wants to develop a national animal disease traceability system. However, the fact that artificial intelligence software can notice distinct facial differences in animals that are undetectable to humans also makes a profound statement about the individuality of each animal.
Image Featured: Iuliia Burlachenko