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Cows wear VR glasses to be less stressed in Russian winter

by Ace Damon
Cows wear VR glasses to be less stressed in Russian winter

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The idea is that with the help of technology, mimosas could produce more milk – and with more quality.

By Ingrid Luisa

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Nov 29, 2019, 8:18 pm

(Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Moscow Region / Reproduction)

Like humans, animals that are not used to the cold suffer a lot when facing thermometer losses. And it can even change the mood of the animals. It is well known that cows that live in Russia, and are not naturally prepared to face a winter that can reach – 20ºC, for example, usually show stress during this period. For farmers, this is terrible: stressed, cows produce less milk, and at a lower quality.

Thinking about mitigating this problem, the RusMoloko farm in the Ramensky district of Moscow decided to resort to technology. As? Putting virtual reality glasses on the mimosas.

Just what you read. Those in charge of the idea adapted human versions of VR glasses to account for the different head shapes of cows. It wasn't easy: their eyes are on the side of their heads – which gives them a 300 degree view, but it limits their binocular vision (that of VR glasses) to a narrow range, which is between 25 and 50 degrees. Everything had to be minimally designed to cause the same sense of reality as human-type devices.

With glasses, the animals saw simulations of pastures in the summer. Developing this landscape was not simple either, as cows are especially good at identifying shades at the red end of the spectrum but poorly matched with opposite colors (such as green, blue and violet). Given these limitations and trying to make the image not look too forged, developers, vets and experts have created a special simulation to please kitties.

Positive results were immediate: During the first test, experts noted "a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall welfare of the herd." The tendency is that, in the future, this good mood and emotional stability would revert to better milk production.

Cows wear VR glasses to be less stressed in Russian winter

– (Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Moscow Region / Reproduction)

The Russian Ministry of Food and Agriculture stated in official announcement The aim of the experiment was to increase the sense of well-being of the mimosas so that they are not so stressed at this time of year. The trial is still ongoing and the researchers hope a comprehensive long-term study will show clear results of the effect of virtual reality on milk production, both in quantity and quality. Perhaps in the future it is the cows themselves who choose their own experience.

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