Gordon Blair, of Lancaster University, launched a simple idea: connecting farm animals to Wi-Fi, to create a sort of rural version of the IoT (Internet of Things).
The concept has been tested with the help of the Sami people, that are nomadic shepherds. Animals carry wireless sensors with GPS and accelerometers: thanks to these devices, herders keep track of flocks. Internet access comes from relays mounted in backpacks or vehicles.
Wi-Fi enabled animals help humans to stay connected, even in rural countries where there’s not broadband everywhere. The next goal is to put the wireless sensor in animals’ ear tags, making them solar powered, to minimize the impact and the burden on animals.