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Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1195; doi:10.3390/s17061195

A Monitoring System for Laying Hens That Uses a Detection Sensor Based on Infrared Technology and Image Pattern Recognition

1
Department of Human Sciences and Quality of Life Promotion, Università Telematica San Raffaele Roma, Via di Val Cannuta 247, Rome 00166, Italy
2
Freelance Certified Infrared Thermal Technician, Oggiono (LC) 23848, Italy
3
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, Milan 20133, Italy
4
Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA), Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, Milan 20133, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: A. G. Unil Perera
Received: 27 January 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrared Detectors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1329 KB, uploaded 24 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

In Italy, organic egg production farms use free-range housing systems with a big outdoor area and a flock of no more than 500 hens. With additional devices and/or farming procedures, the whole flock could be forced to stay in the outdoor area for a limited time of the day. As a consequence, ozone treatments of housing areas could be performed in order to reduce the levels of atmospheric ammonia and bacterial load without risks, due by its toxicity, both for hens and workers. However, an automatic monitoring system, and a sensor able to detect the presence of animals, would be necessary. For this purpose, a first sensor was developed but some limits, related to the time necessary to detect a hen, were observed. In this study, significant improvements, for this sensor, are proposed. They were reached by an image pattern recognition technique that was applied to thermografic images acquired from the housing system. An experimental group of seven laying hens was selected for the tests, carried out for three weeks. The first week was used to set-up the sensor. Different templates, to use for the pattern recognition, were studied and different floor temperature shifts were investigated. At the end of these evaluations, a template of elliptical shape, and sizes of 135 × 63 pixels, was chosen. Furthermore, a temperature shift of one degree was selected to calculate, for each image, a color background threshold to apply in the following field tests. Obtained results showed an improvement of the sensor detection accuracy that reached values of sensitivity and specificity of 95.1% and 98.7%. In addition, the range of time necessary to detect a hen, or classify a case, was reduced at two seconds. This result could allow the sensor to control a bigger area of the housing system. Thus, the resulting monitoring system could allow to perform the sanitary treatments without risks both for animals and humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: infrared sensors; patterns matching; laying hens; organic egg production systems; ozone infrared sensors; patterns matching; laying hens; organic egg production systems; ozone
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zaninelli, M.; Redaelli, V.; Luzi, F.; Bontempo, V.; Dell’Orto, V.; Savoini, G. A Monitoring System for Laying Hens That Uses a Detection Sensor Based on Infrared Technology and Image Pattern Recognition. Sensors 2017, 17, 1195.

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