Got A.I? Facial recognition now works on cows, with goal of better milk

Facial recognition is good for more than security features on Facebook and organizing your photo albums — the artificial intelligence-based technology could soon help ensure that milk in your fridge came from a well-fed cow. That’s right, facial recognition now works on cows. This week, agricultural company Cargill and machine-vision company Cainthus announced a partnership that will create an A.I. system for dairy farmers.

The image-recognition system is able to recognize a cow using both the animal’s pattern of spots and the cow’s actual face. The system takes a few seconds to recognize an individual cow, the companies said.

So why tell a specific cow apart from the rest of the herd? By giving the cameras the ability to determine which cow is which, a computer and camera system can monitor each bovine’s food and water intake, along with looking for odd behaviors and sending health alerts when something changes. The camera-based system can also use heat detection to monitor the herd’s health.

Giving computers the ability to monitor just how much food and water each cow receives turns what would be a several week manual process into something that happens almost in real time, according to the companies. With that information, dairy farmers can anticipate issues and use the information to adjust feeding — all factors that can help increase a farm’s efficiency, along with preventing animal loss.

The partnership will first focus on the computer-tracking system for the dairy industry, but the group plans to expand to additional types of animals in the future, including pigs and chickens as well as aquatic fish farms.

Cargill already has an app that helps farmers track factors like milk production and feed, a platform called Dairy Enteligen. Partnering with the machine vision company Cainthus, which is based in Dublin, will bring new management options that use a camera system, rather than manual data entries, to track data.

“Our shared vision is to disrupt and transform how we bring insights and analytics to dairy producers worldwide,” SriRaj Kantamneni, managing director for Cargill’s digital insights business, said in a press release. “Customers’ ability to make proactive and predictive decisions to improve their farm’s efficiency, enhance animal health and well-being, reduce animal loss, and ultimately increase farm profitability.”

Product Review

The Safe by Hub6 monitors your alarm system to free you from monthly fees

If paying your monthly alarm monitoring fees have got you seeing red, but you don’t want to scrap your perfectly good alarm system, we’ve got good news. The $250 Safe by Hub6 lets your alarm system talk to you directly without monthly…
Smart Home

Sinus problems? These humidifiers will help you breathe easier

Dry air in the home or office can cause a multitude of health issues. Thankfully, powerful desktop solutions and robust home humidifiers are available if you're looking to improve the air quality of your home.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

June may be ending, but the bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   
Deals

TellmeGen health and ancestry DNA test kit down to $139 in Amazon Prime Day deal

23andMe and AncestryDNA are increasing popular DNA tests, but they aren't the only options around. Ahead of Amazon Prime Day, you can get the TellmeGen health and ancestry DNA test kit for just $139, down from $199.
Photography

Get your photos off your phone and on your PC with these tips

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.
Photography

Researchers made a tiny polarization camera that sees what humans can’t

How well can the cameras in self-driving cars see camouflaged or transparent objects? A new polarization camera developed by researchers at Harvard could help improve the accuracy of machine vision.
Photography

Sony’s 35mm f/1.8 lens is a portable, bright prime that’s perfect for travel

Sony's new full-frame FE 35mm F1.8 combines a wide angle of view and fast aperture with a surprisingly compact design, weighing just 9.9 ounces and measuring 2.9 inches long. It ships in August for a price of $750.
Photography

Luminar’s A.I. tools expand for Photoshop, Lightroom via updated plug-in

Eyeing Luminar's A.I.-powered tools, but not keen on abandoning your current Adobe workflow? Luminar Flex is a plug-in that brings several Luminar tools to Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Express, MacOS Photos, and Apple Aperture.
Photography

Everything you need to know to decide if a DSLR is right for you

So, you've heard the term and discovered all of the gadgets that go along with one, but what exactly is a DSLR camera? We answer that and more in our thorough guide on digital single-lens reflex cameras.
Photography

These Android apps will get your photography game on point

The best camera is the one you have with you. More often than not, the one you have with you is the one that's inside your smartphone. To help get the most from your smartphone, we rounded up the best camera apps for Android device.
Photography

A Leica cheaper than the competition, the V-Lux 5 is a versatile zoom

With a larger 1-inch sensor mixing with a 16x zoom lens, the Leica V-Lux 5 is designed as a versatile bridge zoom. And while Leica and "cheap" are seldom used together, the V-Lux 5 actually costs a bit less than a competing camera.
Photography

From point-and-shoot to DSLR and mirrorless, here's how to choose a camera

Looking to buy a new camera? Our comprehensive camera guide has answers to any camera or photography questions you might ask, whether in regards to pricing, image quality, or weatherproofing.
Photography

Under 1 pound, Sigma Fp is the world’s smallest full-frame camera

Built around the Leica L mount and using a 24-megapixel sensor, the Sigma Fp is Sigma's first full-frame mirrorless camera and the smallest such camera in existence. It can shoot 18 fps bursts and offers 12-bit RAW video output.
Photography

The best photography lighting for 2019, from speedlights to studio strobes

Light can make or break an image -- or break the bank -- but choosing the right lighting gear can be confusing. Here are our picks for the best photography lighting, from inexpensive kits to high-end portable studio lights.