On the RusMoloko dairy farm in Moscow, Russia, the wonders of Virtual Reality technology are being put to an unusual test. Cows with specially crafted VR headsets can be seen relaxing and taking in the joys of VR.


The general idea makes a lot of sense: display images of sun-shiny days, green pastures, calm winds kissing the tops of the grass on a big, predator-free ranch. Then hope that this calming environment will help the cows to de-stress and produce more milk. It's a secret cow level of a different sort.



The headsets were specially designed with the help of a VR studio and veterinarians not just to fit the cows, but to design visuals calibrated to their specific color level perception as well. Other technologies from playing classical music to automated massaging brushes have been used to help livestock to de-stress before, so using visuals to aid in the endeavor seems sound. The results are positive but not conclusive. The testing showed that the cows did display a decreased level of anxiety and improved their overall mood, unlike the animals in Red Dead Redemption 2. However, more studies will be needed to determine if more milk is actually being produced.




russian farm giving cows vr headsets

VR technology has been used for much more than just gaming in the past. To help farms produce more from their animals with VR is a new idea that could be positively impactful to the industry. With proven results, these methods could be adapted to different livestock if it is cost-effective and the increased output is worth that investment.


No detail was mentioned of what measurements were used to determine the increase in relaxed state for the cows or how their mood was improved in general. With a study this extensive and with the amount of money they would need to invest in producing custom cow VR headsets, it's likely there are some very sophisticated measures such as blood draws and hormone levels being closely observed. Veterinarian involvement and constant monitoring would also need to be factored in so there are likely significant reimgs dedicated to this research. But would all the effort be worth it?


Even if each cow were to produce just a small amount of milk more because of this new technology, the rule of exponents would then apply and it likely would be worth it. With the proven success of this research, there would be many believers in bovine Virtual Reality.



Source: Interesting Engineering


Image Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region