Can Israeli technology stop swine flu?

Petah Tikva firm develops system to remotely monitor health of each pig.

Young pigs 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Young pigs 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
A Petah Tikva start-up has developed a system - called the Bull-Connect - that can remotely monitor the health of each pig in a herd, permitting illnesses to be detected and isolated promptly. "With this technology, I can know in real time about any epidemic breakout, and I can monitor it and immediately isolate the area," Sharon Soustiel, CartaSense's chief operation officer, said on Thursday. The company originally developed the Bull-Connect technology to monitor herds of cattle, but it has received renewed attention with the recent focus on containing swine flu, since it can also be used for pigs. A sensor placed on each animal's ear monitors its temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and location. "All of this physical information can give us in real time the information to know if the cattle is sick or not," Soustiel said. "We make a wireless network from all of the cattle," he said. The three-year-old company specializes in wireless communication solutions for agriculture. It has developed the wireless technology for Bull-Connect, but still needs to find a partner to finish development of the product and manufacture it. Soustiel said the product could be on the market in less than a year. Bull-Connect will be one of the many innovations presented at Israel's largest agricultural exhibition, Agritech Israel 2009, which begins on Tuesday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.