Mobile Moo

I love stories like this one from the New York Times, which starts: “When Christian Oesch was a boy on his family’s hog farm, cellphones were a thing of the future. Now, Mr. Oesch tends a herd of dairy cattle and carries a smartphone wherever he goes. Occasionally he gets an SMS from one of his cows.”

Yes, cows. Swiss engineers have developed a sensor for cows that detects when they go into heat, sending an appropriate SMS about the event to the cow’s owner. This makes it easier for farmers to plan when to (as the article describes) “bring on the bull or, in about 80 percent of the cases these days, the artificial inseminator.”

What I’ve always found exciting about mobile technology is its potential to change how we live and work. Much of the mobile-related news I read, however, seems to focus on mobile devices as just one more content, entertainment, and advertising platform, not much more than a portable TV (with GPS). Of course that’s important (and profitable), but mobile devices have the potential to be so much more than that. This is why I’m excited to read about innovations like this. Here’s a solution that that truly takes advantage of the unique features of mobile devices and mobile networks to solve existing problems in ways that were previously impossible.

I’d love to hear about other solutions that use mobile tech in creative and useful ways.

Photo by publicenergy from flickr