Sheep texting concept, visualized (by Cabe Atwell)
The last thing I would expect to receive a text message from is a sheep. But that is exactly the plan Switzerland and France based researchers have recently attempted. Due to a rising amount of wolf attacks on herds of sheep, shepherds may soon have technology on their side — helping keep their flock safe.
In a Switzerland based trail experiment, 12 sheep were equipped with heart rate monitors and two muzzled wolves were let loose on them. As the sheep panicked and started to flee, their heart rates jumped from a relaxed 60/80 BPM to 225. The researchers present stated that the difference in the heart rate is significant enough to trigger a system to send an SMS message.
No official prototype exists yet, however the researchers picture a collar that would hold the heart monitor, SMS sending system, and possibly a spray repellent or speaker to scare the wolves away. The system could warn the shepherds of an attack and the location of their sheep. The researchers are planning on targeting the system for shepherds with small herds, or shepherds who cannot afford to own a watchdog. A prototype is expected this fall and testing is going to begin early next year.
Now, how do we keep the endangered wolves safe from gun-toting shepherds?