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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.


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.

C3D photogrammetryLighter SideSilsoe Research Institutestereoscopic imagingUniversity of Glasgow

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