June 9, 2022
New device can diagnose cattle health using milk samples in under 10 seconds
A new device by Labby, a startup founded by two alumni from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is able to diagnose cattle health using milk samples taken from individual cows in under 10 seconds, MIT News reported.
Labby's device is part of an analytics platform that can help farmers detect diseases in their herds before they spread. It could also provide veterinarians with historical health data on specific animals, assist dairy farmers in identifying best practises, and allow farmers to be more transparent with their customers.
Labby CEO Julia Somerdin, who cofounded the company with former MIT Media Lab postdoc Anshuman Das, said the device is similar to how data collection devices for humans have revolutionised health care.
The traditional method of monitoring cow health and milk quality is inefficient and costly. As a result, according to Somerdin, most farmers only test once a month. Due to a lack of monitoring, diseases such as mastitis, a painful infection that also lowers milk quality, can spread.
Somerdin said Mastitis is the most common and expensive disease in the dairy industry, adding that Mastitis is contagious and difficult to detect, so it quickly spreads throughout the herd.
Labby's scanner employs a technique known as mobile spectroscopy, which provides data on milk composition such as fat, protein, and somatic cell count (SCC). SCC levels above a certain threshold indicate mastitis or an infection that can be treated before it spreads or worsens.
Since 2019, Labby has been working with farms in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, though the pandemic has slowed the company's expansion plans. Labby also sells its devices to universities and businesses that want to research the data it collects.
- MIT News