Virtual Cow Butt

Veterinarians have no choice when they need to check a cow for pregnancy or infection. The standard procedure is to stick your arm up the cow's rectum. The technique is difficult to teach to veterinary students because, well, it's dark in there.
That’s why veterinarian and computer scientist Sarah Baillie has created the “Haptic Cow,” a virtual, touch-feedback device that mimics the feeling of real bovine anatomy, placed inside a fiberglass model of a cow’s rear end.

“With this technology, students can feel something that feels like the inside of a real cow, but I or another instructor can be following their movements on a monitor,” said Baillie, who teaches at the Royal Veterinary College in London. “This means we can say, ‘Come back a bit or go left a bit.’ It actually means you can direct them.”

Not only can professors follow a student’s exact movements and critique the technique, but they can also keep track of how much force is being applied. If a fledgling vet gets too rough and exceeds the number of Newtons considered safe by experienced vets, virtual Bessie will belt out a cautionary “Moo-oo!”


(image credit: Sarah Baillie/Royal Veterinary College)

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I bet you're absolutely right when the circumstances are optimal, the new ultrasound technology would be super. However, vets should be trained in the old fashioned methods,too, for situations where portable ultrasound machines and such aren't readily available or would be impractical. While the modern high-tech way might be a vet's primary way of doing things at their office or on-site at modern high-volume cattle operations, vets should be familiar with the low-tech way in case they have to make a house call and do things on the fly and don't or can't have the new technology on hand in time. I can imagine lots of reasons why it might be hard use the new tech to tend to an emergency in a rustic rural back pasture in the middle of the night.
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There is practically no need to fall back upon old traditional detection of pregnancy in cows by inserting a hand.
There are a number of systems based on ultrasonics to detect pregnancy in a cow.
A catheter -probe- is inserted in the cow and the ultrasonic system gives good information about fetus in the cow.
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