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Science Technology

Robots Milking Cows 31

axlrosen writes "The Globe has an article about robotic cow-milking machines. The cows are trained to walk up to the machine, and then "a laser locates the cow's nipples, which are cleaned by rollers coated with disinfectant before being milked by long, white suction tubes on the unit's milking claw. Vacuum-activated rubber rings at the end of each tube massage the nipple, prompting the cow to release its milk.""
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Robots Milking Cows

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  • hahahah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgothan ( 201770 )
    hahahaha april fools hahahaha

    dumb ass
    • Re:hahahah (Score:2, Informative)

      by jaxdahl ( 227487 )
      No, really, this isn't a false article. My dad is a dairy farm technician/dealer and he's known about these for a while.. they cost around $100,000-$200,000 apiece. One company that is working on trial products is this company: Boumatic [], their robotics 'page' is here [].
    • What frustrated me was that this article was real, so I started thinking some of the other articles were also real but inane. I thought they were trying for something new this year.

  • Mastitis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cymen ( 8178 ) <> on Monday April 01, 2002 @01:21AM (#3264107) Homepage
    Plus the computer has to monitor the flow of the milk to check for globs of mastitis material and maybe check the udder for hardness. In my opinion this sounds interesting but milking parlers have really made the whole milking process pretty efficient. Somehow the human putting on the unit and observing the health of the cow makes me a bit more comfortable with the system.
    • I saw two of these at the mega Field Days [] show last year in NZ. From memory one was US manufactured and the other Swiss or German. In addition to the point made about human contact being a 'good thing' for the monitoring of the cows heath two things struck me about these.

      1/ They were bloody expensive, especially once you converted from US$ or DM or SF to the pacific peso aka NZ$.

      2/ They were very slow, watching the robot locate the teats was painfully glacial.

      It 'may' be economic for farmers with small herds in countries where they recieve massive state subsidies but......

      • Slow and expensive sounds horrible to me... I worked on a farm here in America every summer while growing up. They now use the NZ style of rotational grazing plus they put in a milking parlor using some NZ techniques. Some of the stuff that you guys come up with in NZ is pretty neat. I liked the idea of the large round concrete platform that rotated using water as a friction reducing fluid. I don't have more details but basically the idea was the cow gets one and by the time the thing has gone 3/4 around the cow gets off and is done being milked.

        I wish I knew more about the results of subsidies. At heart I just hate the idea as it smacks of a quick fix and I really want to blame some things on subsidies for the results we have today but I don't know enough to comment really...

        • Dad worked on the first Rotary milking shed installed in our district (197?). The cows walked on, Dad put the cups on, cow goes round, cams turn off suction, cups fall off, cow backs off. This milked 180 cows in aprox 3 hrs.

          Every morning.

          Every night.

          and people wonder how I can put with PHBs ?
          • Yeah, my brother was going to become a farmer here in the US but it just isn't possible financially. Least not in any way I look at it...

            Working on the farm during the summer vacation was enough medicine for me :). It's great physical work and if you have something to think about the chores aren't too bad but everyday for the rest of your life? Not me.
  • Robot killing cows, and I was like thank god we don't actually have to have a human slaughter anything anymore.
  • With this technology, we can now directly seek and attack the nipples of our country's enemies. Adding this as aonther stage on our already intelligent weapons... we could really wreak havoc to our enemies. You'd think they'd have to be bathing or swimming at the time. But with highly tuned IR sensors, it just might work.
  • My aunt and i being dairy farmers have known of these for years.
    We feel ours would need two mods:
    1) a hawking voice
    2) air powered cylinder with steel pipe
    This is so when the bove(cow) kicked the snot out of the bot(robot), as they often do to the milkmades, the pipe wold smack the bove while yelling in hawking "god damn you hag".

    tecno dairy humor
  • Kewl (Score:3, Funny)

    by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @02:44AM (#3264429) Homepage
    > Vacuum-activated rubber rings at the end of each tube massage the nipple, prompting the cow to release its milk.

    Can we have several of these at the local sperm bank?

  • I thought, "HAHA The first April Fools Day post."

  • just wondering whether robots can be infected by it ? that would pretty much sink us into terminator realms
  • Doesn't any of this frighten anyone? I place this machine only a few steps below the Cow raping machine, which keeps the sows pregnant and lactating. Sadly, I cannot express much enthusiasm over such a machine. I am not a vegetarian but I do not drink milk or eat dairy products, and I feel that it has had a positive effect upon my digestive system. Thus I may feel morally superior in realizing that my habits do not contribute to the manufacture of such devices.
    • WTF is your point?? A cow raping machine, if you have no moral problems with eating meat, then how is this repugnant? Your eating habits kill cows/steers, do they not? Could you please make a point or a consecutive set of points? WTF is your point, you anaemic meat eating morally superior Cow rights hero. Please make a point.

  • I've seen this on the news here in Norway. Some farmers joined in on an automated barn, with this automatic milking system. That was over a year ago, though. The cows go to the machine and get a snack when they are in the little milking booth. An inductive radio chip necklace tells the computer wich cow is in the booth and gives detailed statistics to the farmer.
  • Automated milking machines have been around for many years. At least two decades, actually.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.