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- Credit: Moscow Ministry Of Agriculture And Food

Are VR Headsets for cows the future of the milk?

Apparently Russia has that idea and it's testing a happier virtual reality for cows, to improve the quality of their milk.

A way to escape

As our future appears increasingly dystopian, virtual reality headsets have become increasingly popular, allowing people to immerse themselves in everything from video games to movies and even traveling into the very heart of our galaxy. Being transported elsewhere with a VR, however, is no longer the prerogative of just humans. Cows in Russia are also trying out the experience.

In a curious experiment, a farm near Moscow has tested specially devised VR headsets that can be worn by bovines to "improve cow conditions". A team of developers, veterinarians and experts produced simulations of summer fields specifically designed to appeal to cows. The goal is to increase the welfare of cows by looking after their emotional state and not just their physical needs.

Credit: Moscow Ministry Of Agriculture And Food

Credit: Moscow Ministry Of Agriculture And Food

Towards greener pastures

Certainly, the technology seems to show that the overall mood of the herd increased after using the VR headsets. The idea is based on studies that show that happier cows produce more nutritious milk. Dairy farmers worldwide have developed a variety of approaches to achieve that, from playing classical music in stables to hiring chiropractors to give the cows massages. VR is just the next step, using cutting edge tech to help farmers literally milk more out of their herds.

During the first test, which was carried out at RusMoloko farm in the Ramensky district of Moscow, according to Moscow's Ministry of Agriculture and Food, experts involved recorded a "decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the cow herd". The test is still ongoing and researchers are hoping a comprehensive long-term study will show clear results of the effect of VR on milk production, both quantity and quality. No word yet on if the cows will be able to choose their VR experience in the future.

Credit: Popular Mechanics

Credit: Popular Mechanics

Beefy specifics

Pun intended! Making a VR headset ideal for cows wasn’t easy. First of all, there was the challenge of the headset. Cows' eyes are on the side of their heads, which gives them 300-degree vision, but limits their binocular vision to just 25 to 50 degrees.

They are also quite particular when it comes to colours, so the simulation was created to match their sensitivities. Cows can distinguish most colours and are especially good at recognising shades on the red end of the spectrum, like red, orange, and yellow, but less so with green, blue, and violet. Taking this all into consideration, the developers created a unique summer field simulation, which evidently pleased the cows.

Credit: The Gamer

Credit: The Gamer

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