PigSense: Structural Vibration-based Activity and Health Monitoring System for Pigs


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Precision Swine Farming has the potential to directly benefit swine health and industry profit by automatically monitoring the growth and health of pigs. We introduce the first system to use structural vibration to track animals and the first system for automated characterization of piglet group activities, including nursing, sleeping, and active times. PigSense uses physical knowledge of the structural vibration characteristics caused by pig-activity-induced load changes to recognize different behaviors of the sowand piglets. For our system to survive the harsh environment of the farrowing pen for three months, we designed simple, durable sensors for physical fault tolerance, then installed many of them, pooling their data to achieve algorithmic fault tolerance even when some do stop working. The key focus of this work was to create a robust system that can withstand challenging environments, has limited installation and maintenance requirements, and uses domain knowledge to precisely detect a variety of swine activities in noisy conditions while remaining flexible enough to adapt to future activities and applications. We provided an extensive analysis and evaluation of all-round swine activities and scenarios from our one-year field deployment across two pig farms in Thailand and the USA. To help assess the risk of crushing, farrowing sicknesses, and poormaternal behaviors, PigSense achieves an average of 97.8% and 94% for sow posture and motion monitoring, respectively, and an average of 96% and 71% for ingestion and excretion detection. To help farmers monitor piglet feeding, starvation, and illness, PigSense achieves an average of 87.7%, 89.4%, and 81.9% in predicting different levels of nursing, sleeping, and being active, respectively. In addition, we show that our monitoring of signal energy changes allows the prediction of farrowing in advance, as well as status tracking during the farrowing process and on the occasion of farrowing issues. Furthermore, PigSense also predicts the daily pattern and weight gain in the lactation cycle with 89% accuracy, a metric that can be used to monitor the piglets' growth progress over the lactation cycle.
Swine,pig health,structural vibration,animal welfare,agriculture,precision management
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