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3-D Imaging System Monitors Pig Growth

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2005
Barnyard denizens, take note: “Pig Brother” is watching you.

Scientists at Silsoe Research Institute and the University of Glasgow, both in the UK, have developed a 3-D imaging system that may enable the noninvasive monitoring of the health and development of feeder pigs. The C3D photogrammetry system, which originated in work for medical imaging, generates a 3-D surface model of an animal from which a cross section across the loin is derived. The scientists are developing techniques to correlate the shape of the cross section with the animal’s posture, growth and diet.

Peregrinations_3D.jpg

Described at the AgEng2004 conference in Louvain, Belgium, the system comprises three stereoscopic imaging pods, each featuring two Kodak Professional DCS760 digital cameras and a studio flash, arranged around a standard pigpen to capture stereo images from the side, top and rear. Image processing software uses natural features of an animal -- wrinkles and hairs -- to establish correspondences among pixels in the various stereo images and thereby to produce a 3-D model. The user then manually selects 68 landmarks related to the muscular groups of a pig to produce a cross section from the surface model.

Such a system, the scientists hope, could maximize the efficiency of pig farms. Diets could be tailored to individual animals to produce the highest-quality meat with no wasted feed.


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