Cows Go High-Tech Wearing Virtual Reality Headsets

News Cows Vr Glasses Featured

No, you did not have too much wine over the holiday. We really are talking about cows wearing virtual reality glasses. Yes, bovines, THOSE cows. Those are the cows we are talking about.

There is reportedly a Russian experiment to learn if providing dairy cows with VR headsets reduces their anxiety and leads to them producing more milk.

Cows in VR Glasses

Are you still with us? This is what seems to be a serious experiment by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region. But The Verge is unsure whether it’s a real experiment or whether it’s just an attempt to get some interest and notoriety in Russian dairy products.

The press release stated that tests of the cows wearing VR headsets are taking place at a farm near Moscow. The device has been adapted for the unique shape of a cow’s head, along with its vision. They hired VR designers to create a “unique summer field simulation program.” This makes sense, as I would rather be in a summer field than a frozen tundra myself.

News Cows Vr Glasses Content

It was also noted in the press release that there is an agricultural trend to focus on the emotional well-being of animals, suggesting that relaxing music improves yields, so they want to see if VR could do the same.

An initial test of the cows wearing the VR glasses showed “a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd.” A “further comprehensive study” is planned as well.

However, the experiment wasn’t conducted by a university like research of this type usually is. It was conducted by a news site for the Russian dairy industry. They ask for people to sign up to a forum to learn more about tech being used in agriculture.

Is There Really a Future in This?

As to whether there’s really a future in farm animals and IoT wearables is unclear. But we’re using IoT on our pets, so why not? And this isn’t something just for human enjoyment, it’s for better product in the long run.

But does it really work, and is this really serious research? Do dairy cows wearing virtual reality headsets really produce more milk because they’re so relaxed, thinking they’re in a beautiful summer meadow?

Share your thoughts and concerns in the comments below.

Image Credit: Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region

3 comments

  1. “there is an agricultural trend to focus on the emotional well-being of animals”
    That assumes that we understand animal emotions and how to modify/influence them. Or are the scientists just anthromorphizing (projecting the interpretation of human feelings unto the animals)?

    “this isn’t something just for human enjoyment”
    No. It’s for human profit. Just another way to make money off of the IoT mania..

  2. This is very silly, something Google would come up with because they have so much money to waste. Has to be a joke. Dogs don’t completely know what they’re seeing when they look in a mirror and they’re vastly more intelligent than cows, animals bred to be smart enough to perform their functions while being stupid enough to be manageable. Would she really start producing much more milk or think she was asleep on her feet dreaming of green grass?

    Agricultural animals the size of cattle with the brains of say, a German Shepherd Dog would be extremely dangerous. I doubt Bessie has clue one about what’s happening and am absolutely sure the second that headset was removed she began looking for grass to eat, since that’s what they do most of the time, eat.

    Let’s say some brilliant, powerful soul decides this will fly; it would cause an agricultural uprising vs. the ostensible relaxing well being happy cow family joy, whatever. There’s so much wrong with the idea, the least of which are that thing will never stay on a cow and no farmer in their right mind would want to add work to their long, long work day.

    Vodka’s too cheap in Russia is my guess! 🙂

  3. From a purely economic viewpoint, this idea is a non-starter. How much does/will a headset cost? How much more milk does a cow wearing the headset produce than a non-headset-wearing cow? With dairy farms all over the US going out of business because of depressed milk prices, will the headset raise milk production enough to amortize the expense of equipping all the cows in the heard with headsets? Besides, higher milk production will depress prices even further.

    “whether it’s just an attempt to get some interest and notoriety in Russian dairy products”
    Theoretically, a surplus of a food stuff in one country could/should be transferred to a country (ies) that have a shortage, as has happened a couple of decades ago with US surplus wheat being sold to the USSR. Unfortunately, politics always trumps human kindness and charity.

    Of course, the most likely scenario is that this is simply a Russian hoax. They have tried to perpetrate many of them over the years.

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