Counting on Sheep for More Than Sleep: Herds Become Wi-Fi Hotspots

Photo Courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk

Photo Courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk

 Researchers at Lancaster University have received a grant of about $260,000 to equip sheep with digital smart collars. The primary purpose is to track the herd’s location and measure environmental conditions,”according to Wales Online.

Most of the work on the Internet of Things has taken place in cities,” computer scientist Professor Gordon Blair of Lancaster University told CNN. “But I think we’re quite unique in taking the concept out into a more rural environment.

You may have heard of the “Internet of Things” — the idea that eventually all physical objects could communicate data over the internet to other connected devices. Already many devices in cities — from automobiles to thermostats — communicate information to operators, manufacturers and consumers via the internet about their status. But in rural Wales, a region not noted for its connectivity, researchers have begun a study into the Internet of Sheep, attaching wireless devices to livestock to gather information, stated cnn.com

However, the collars could also turn the herd into a Wi-Fi hotspot, helping bring better connectivity to rural areas. As The Atlantic notes, a herd of sheep can form a mesh network that transmits connectivity across large distances. Similar tests in Northern Scandinavia have already looked at offering Wi-Fi to nomadic people through reindeer. If you’re worried about animal safety, the sheep should be fine if the collars don’t exceed 2 percent of their body weight, reported techhive.com