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.
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