A group of Chinese scientists proposed a zero-energy smart ranch with wearable sensors entirely powered by cattle's movements.
The study published on Friday in the journal iScience described smart devices on cows that capture the kinetic energy created by even their smallest movements and then use it to power the ranch.
The researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University mounted small sensory devices around cows' ankles and necks to recover animal kinetic energy and store it in supercapacitors or lithium batteries through a rectifier.
"We designed a motion enhancement mechanism that uses magnets and a pendulum to amplify small movements the cows make," said the paper's co-author Zhang Zutao, a professor from the university.
The energy harvester can ensure a stable energy supply for wearable monitoring sensors on cows, and those sensors can also be powered when the cattle are not moving or are doing limited movement, according to the study.
"On a ranch, monitoring environmental and health information of cattle can help prevent diseases and improve the efficiency of pasture breeding and management," said Pan Yajia, the co-author of this paper.
"This information can include oxygen concentration, air temperature and humidity, amount of exercise, reproductive cycles, disease, and milk production," she added.
Zhang and Pan also tested the devices on humans and found that a light jog was enough to power temperature measurement in the device.
The researchers see future applications in sports monitoring, healthcare, smart homes, and the construction of human wireless sensor networks.