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By | Lester Haines 13th June 2008 11:20

Aussies deploy bovine facial recognition

Sorting the cows from the goats

Aussie scientists have launched an ingenious "cowcam" facial recognition system designed to identify animal species and keep unwanted riff-raff out of cattle watering points, the Guardian reports.

Cowcam features a camera mounted in a laneway through which thirsty creatures must pass to gain access to the water. If the system doesn't like the cut of an animal's jib, it bars entry.

University of Queensland researcher and cowcam co-inventor, Neal Finch, explained: "We use the unique side profile that every animal has and a software programme similar to facial recognition technology that allows us to identify animals to a species level. The camera can tell the difference between sheep and cattle and feral pests such as goats, horses, pigs, kangaroos, camels and emus.

"You could have a cattle station that has feral populations of horses, donkeys or camels. The watering points are there for the cattle, so the camera would let the cattle through, but if a goat or a pig tried to get in the gate would shut against it."

Following four years of development, cowcam is now on sale for AU$10,000. ®

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