When her husband fell ill, Canadian pig farmer Mary Haugh was left with a problem. A big problem, actually: how to control and herd 3,000 hogs through the barn all by herself. The traditional method of using stick and electric prod was inhumane. Corraling the pig meant using long pieces of heavy lumber that she couldn't easily move.
So Mary came up with a solution that was so simple it's brilliant: a pig "crowd control" device called "The Long Arm":
While thinking about her problem, Haugh noticed the chase boards the Haughs had stacked up in the barn were bright red--and every time
the pigs passed them, they seemed to hesitate. She couldn't lift a 30-foot board, if one even existed, but she could certainly handle that length of fabric. She did some trial runs and noticed that pigs would indeed shy away from a moving red surface, whether solid or fabric.
Haugh then came up with a roller that dispenses a swath of red cloth--a sort of farm version of the retractable "lane guides" that movie theaters use. Working with her brother Peter Jones, a mechanical engineer, she developed a 30-pound stainless steel prototype that retracted fabric like a windowshade and could unspool 50 feet of material. The pair also designed it so one end could attach to existing stabling, enabling one-person operation.