Wearable Devices for Improved Equine Welfare

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Virginia Tech


The use of digital technology is becoming increasingly popular in equine research. Current applied technologies for livestock are being used to detect pathogens, observe locomotion patterns, determine estrus periods, and measure vital parameters. These sensors leverage global positioning systems, accelerometers, magnetometers, goniometers, optics, among other emerging sensing technologies. The success of these devices has led to the introduction of various equine wearable sensors into market. These technologies seek to promote mobile devices to be used in equine training, monitoring, and clinical contexts. Therefore, the objective of this research is to characterize advancements, opportunities, and gaps in our existing knowledge of equine wearable sensor technology. Specifically, this research explores two innovative sensors designed for equines and their potential to enhance animal safety and health. The purpose of the research on these sensors is to (1) better contextualize biomechanical data in practically applicable terms and (2) evaluate the accuracy of a photoplethysmography based pulse sensor to detect heart rates of adult horses. In addition, currently marketed equine wearable sensors are reviewed, and their limitations are evaluated. Areas of future research and developments of equine wearable technologies are also explored.



sensor, heart rate, horses, biomechanics