Boehringer Ingelheim, the world leader in animal health solutions, has presented an innovation that will change how pigs are managed. SoundTalks is the name of this AI-powered device, which is intended to change the way of detecting respiratory diseases in pigs. It will most probably decrease the morbidity and mortality rates while empowering farmers with […]

Boehringer Ingelheim, the world leader in animal health solutions, has presented an innovation that will change how pigs are managed. SoundTalks is the name of this AI-powered device, which is intended to change the way of detecting respiratory diseases in pigs. It will most probably decrease the morbidity and mortality rates while empowering farmers with timely intervention strategies.

Cutting-edge technology for early detection

By using the technology of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the tool ‘SoundTalks’ is designed to assist in the health improvement of pigs. The system relies on AI algorithms to ‘hear’ the frequency and the intensity of coughs in pigs, thus it notifies the producer to the possible onset of problems.

The device has already been proven to be able to diagnose respiratory disease in pigs five days earlier than the conventional methods according to Boehringer Ingelheim. In contrast to the traditional means of detection, which are usually based on the visual inspection or the retrospective diagnosis, this new device can detect the respiratory issues up to five days earlier, thus, giving a chance for the intervention.

Each SoundTalks covers a 10-meter radius and has a microphone that ‘hears’ the pigs and humidity and temperature sensors. The monitors send the pig noises to ‘The Gateway,’ which is connected to the cloud where sounds are analyzed.

The devices that can listen and monitor are not new, but what is special about SoundTalks is the data that were used to create the algorithms it uses to compare and detect coughs and the fact that the system is always learning. The sound data is converted into a respiratory health score, which is inversely proportional to the risk of morbidity and mortality and is displayed in an online dashboard and a mobile app.

The monitors themselves are also the ones that signal the respiratory health status of the pigs and the traffic-light system will alert the farmers to the anomalies so that they can identify and focus on the right groups of pigs sooner.

Empowering farmers with actionable insights

Findlay MacBean, head of livestock at Boehringer Ingelheim, stated, “Respiratory diseases can be detrimental not only to the health and wellbeing of livestock but a farmer’s bottom line.” In the face of the general problems British pig farmers encounter nowadays, such as the lack of workers and the increasing costs of production, keeping herd health is becoming more difficult and, above all, more significant.

By means of such tools as SoundTalks, Boehringer Ingelheim is determined to come up with new solutions which will make it possible for farmers to forecast, prevent and treat animal health problems, thereby, making them to be more productive.

Paul Thompson, a vet at Garth Pig Practice, said that the tool would greatly improve the pigs’ well-being and reduce the farmer’s time and costs. He emphasized the role of tools like SoundTalks in helping farmers look ahead, stop, and cure animal health problems.