Nikon AI Camera Detects When Cows Are About to Give Birth

Nikon has developed a new camera system aimed at farmers — an AI-powered device that predicts when cows will give birth.

The camera giant began running tests on four farms in southwestern Japan in February 2023 with the aim of reducing the burden on farmers who frequently have to check on expecting mother cows.

The state-of-the-art technology reads the behavior of pregnant cows and can give farmers a five-hour warning by picking up on things like increased movement and the early release of the calf’s amniotic sac.

If a farmer is so inclined to install this system it will cost 900,000 yen per year ($6,100) which will cover 100 cows. The security-style camera feeds the AI system to a dedicated smartphone app that will alert the farmer when a calf is due. Presumably, farmers can attend if necessary or sit back and watch from afar. According to Kyodo News, the system will go on sale in Japan this month.

Nikon’s Kazuhiro Hirano spoke in December about utilizing Nikon’s image analysis technology, “We want to be able to also detect when a female cow is in heat and other behavioral patterns,” he adds.

A livestock farmer who participated in Nikon’s proof-of-concept tests says he was satisfied with the AI system.

“We deliver about 60 calves per year, and had to check the mothers every few hours from around a month before they are due. This system has been a great help,” says Keita Higuchi.

Nikon launched two new Z cameras in 2023 with the Z8 being named PetaPixel‘s Camera of the Year. While the company is best known for its professional and consumer cameras, it is also involved in manufacturing other devices including microscopes, X-ray systems, semiconductor systems, robot vision, and virtual production studios

Although Nikon is embracing AI in one sense, in another sense it is pushing back against AI misuse — specifically in the form of false images. Nikon recently partnered with the Paris-based news agency AFP to verify a new “digital watermark” image provenance function that will act as an additional layer to the C2PA digital signature system from the Content Authenticity Initiative.

Image credits: Courtesy of Nikon.