Yep, bringing new meaning to the term "field testing," Dartmouth’s Zack Butler has developed a wireless LAN system intended to keep cows in the fields where the farmer wants them to graze -- without the need for fences. The system works on the assumption that our bovine friends are really, really stoopid [ed. note: the cows say that the tests on Dan are going well, too]. The New Scientist reports that the cows are fitted with a collar with a handheld computer, an 802.11b card, a GPS transmitter, and a loudspeaker (!) onboard.
The collar transmits information about the cow’s location to a WiFi access point in the field. (Butler suggests that farmers could use solar power to run the equipment outdoors.)
If a cow wanders outside of its prescribed area, the collar “roars” at the animal, at which it is supposed to flee back into its field [ed. note: or start a stampede through town, one of the two].
Terrifyingly, a little research shows that this is not the only wireless-related cow technology in the works [ed. note: if you have a weak stomach we suggest you stop reading now].
In a Cronenebergesque twist, His Place Farms and the University of Virginia have “surgically implanted a solar-powered miniature Global Postioning System and a webcam in Cow #6's [ed. note: I am not a number!] digestive tract… aimed at discovering #6's dietary performance on the grasses of Reva, Virginia.”
That’s right, click on CowGutcam, and you can actually view the contents of a live cow’s stomach (one of them, anyway). Heidi is never going to be the same for us again.
— "Desperate" Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung