Early Detection in the Field

Published: Oct 26, 2001

New Approaches to Real-World Problems

Tasch’s patented invention may save the dairy and horse industries hundreds of millions of dollars each year.  “Early Detection in the Field”

It’s hard to know if a horse or cow is lame – unlike humans, they don’t complain incessantly about the aches in their limbs – but not knowing is and can be very expensive. Professor of mechanical engineering Uri Tasch has invented a diagnostic device that promises to save animals from pain and their owners from huge veterinary bills.
Tasch estimates that the Maryland dairy industry loses close to $500 million a year to livestock lameness, caused by infection, arthritis, or injury, and the state’s horse racing and breeding industry loses millions more. Nationwide, and even internationally, there are billions of dollars a year at stake.
Tasch’s patented invention promises early detection of lameness: Using a sensitive scale, video camera, and computerized instruments, the device measures the force and duration of the animal’s steps, factors in its weight, and can automatically pinpoint which leg might be causing problems.
Negotiations with corporations interested in licensing Tach’s technology are under way, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recognizing the device’s importance, has helped support Tasch’s research.

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