July 20, 2024

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Mixed Reality used to spot sheep diseases

Mixed Reality used to spot sheep diseases

In interesting HoloLens and Mixed Reality news, Australian farmers have turned to technology to help them detect exotic diseases in sheep.

In June 2022, a viral livestock disease originated from Indonesia was detected at Australia’s Adelaide Airport. Thankfully the virus was inactive and cannot be transmitted. However, due to the pandemic Australian officials were on high alert about the potential impact an outbreak would have. A widespread outbreak would be a $80 billion hit to the Australian economy over a decade, with beef and lamb industries hit the hardest. Not to mention the impact on the food supply chain.

In respond to this event, “Australia’s world-leading biosecurity system” looked to strengthen their defenses to protect their vital livestock industries. One new initiative that resulted from this is an app called Sheep Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) AR app which shows farmers how to detect exotic diseases in sheep. The app was built in collaboration between Animal Health Australia, the South Australian government’s Red Meat and Wool Growth Program, and developers Think Digital.

Mixed Reality used to spot sheep diseases

How the app works is digital twins of sheep are placed into the user’s real-world location. Users will then be tasked to identify which sheep is symptomatic and diagnose what is wrong. The symptoms vary from common issues like the foot and mouth where the sheep may have a lesion. Symptoms also include difficult ones such as diseases currently not found in Australian including bluetongue, foot and mouth disease, scrapie and sheep pox.

The most effective use of the app and training is with a Mixed Reality headset. But the application also available for phones and tablets.

The goal of this project is to educate farmers if the diseases do come. App developers mention this training is far more efficient and accessible for all. Rather than educators traveling to farms or asking farmers to gather in one central area. This on demand training is self-paced and perfect for the busy schedule of farmers.

The app will also be showcased at the evokeAG 2023 conference, hosted in South Australia at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 21-22 February 2023.