Virtual reality is becoming more and more popular. The technology allows people to become immersed in almost infinite number of realities. But it’s not just humans that are being transported elsewhere with VR. Cows in Russia are also giving the experience a go.
A farm just outside of Moscow has tested specially made VR headsets that can be worn by cows to “improve cow conditions”.
Developed by a team of vets, VR experts and software developers, the device produces simulations of summer fields specifically designed to appeal to cows.
The team are trying to increase the welfare of our bovine friends by looking after their mental and emotional state, not just their physical needs. The technology seems to work and the team record that the overall mood of the herd increased after using the VR system.
The novel idea is based on research that shows that happier cows produce more nutritious milk in higher quantities
Dairy farmers all over the world have tried a number of different approaches to achieve that. They’ve tried everything from playing classical music in the farms to hiring chiropractors to give the cows daily massages. VR is just one step further. Farmers are able to literally milk more out their cows using this new innovative technology.
Developing the headset to be comfortable and ergonomic for the cow was a challenge. Unlike humans, cows’ eyes are on the side of their heads, giving them 300-degree vision but limiting their binocular vision to just 25 to 50 degrees.
Cows are also very particular when it comes to different colors so the simulation was created to best fit their needs. Although they can distinguish most colors especially shades on the red end of the spectrum, such as red, orange, and yellow, they’re not so good with green, blue, or violet. With all this taken into consideration, the team created a very unique summer field simulation which certainly seems to be pleasing the cows.
According to Moscow’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, during the device’s first test, carried out at RusMoloko farm in the Ramensky district of Moscow, experts recorded a “decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd”.
Tests are still ongoing and researchers hope that a future comprehensive study conducted over a longer period will show clear results of the positive effects of VR on milk production – both quantity and quality.