New AI camera system that can detect when birth will occur

Nikon has ventured into an unexpected domain, combining its imaging and AI capabilities to create a system that notifies farmers when a cow is on the verge of giving birth, Kyodo reported. 

The innovation aims to streamline the process of monitoring pregnant cows, offering greater efficiency during busy birthing seasons.

The system, priced at 900,000 yen annually for farms with around 100 cows, comprises a security-style camera integrated with an AI system. Connected to a dedicated smartphone app, the system triggers an alert when a calf is due, empowering farmers to take timely action if necessary.

Nikon initiated AI training in the fall of 2021 and conducted proof-of-concept trials on four farms in southwestern Japan in February 2023. The AI system recognises signs exhibited by pregnant cows approximately five hours before labour, such as increased movement and the onset of the calf’s amniotic sac release. 

Kazuhiro Hirano from Nikon expressed the company’s ambition to expand the system’s capabilities to detect when a female cow is in heat and other behavioural patterns.

According to Keita Higuchi, a livestock owner who participated in the tests, the system proved highly effective. Higuchi said: “We deliver about 60 calves per year, and this system has been a great help, eliminating the need for frequent checks on the mothers leading up to delivery.”

While Nikon is renowned for its consumer cameras, this foray into agricultural technology showcases the company’s diverse applications of AI and imaging expertise.

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