Chinese Scientists Design Portable Livestock Energy Harvester to Build Smart Ranch

A group of Chinese scientists have proposed a smart ranch with wearable sensors powered entirely by livestock movements. The study published Friday in the journal iScience describes devices on cows that capture the kinetic energy created by the animals’ slightest movements, then use it to power the ranch.

Researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University have mounted small sensing devices worn on cows’ ankles and necks to capture the animal’s kinetic energy and store it in supercapacitors or lithium batteries via a rectifier. “We designed a motion enhancement mechanism that uses magnets and a pendulum to amplify small movements of cows,” said paper co-author Zhang Zutao, a professor at the university.

The energy harvester can ensure a constant supply of energy for wearable monitoring sensors on cows, and these sensors can also be powered when cattle are not moving or making limited movements, according to the study.

“On a ranch, monitoring environmental information and livestock health can help prevent disease and improve the efficiency of pasture creation and management,” said co-author Pan Yajia. . “This information can include oxygen concentration, air temperature and humidity, amount of exercise, reproductive cycles, disease and milk production,” she added.

Zhang and Pan also tested the devices on humans and found that a slight movement was enough to power the device’s temperature measurement. Researchers see future applications in sports monitoring, healthcare, smart homes, and building wearable wireless sensor networks on humans.

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