New Mexico State University researchers are testing a retinal scanner and radio frequency identification (RFID) tag system for cattle. Part of the USDA's planned National Animal Identification System, the technology could help identify and keep tabs on animals that may have been in contact with diseased livestock. From a press release:
(Livestock specialist Manny) Encinias used a $3,000 retinal scanner not much bigger than a small video camera to record the IDs at three locations over a six-month period. To make the digital record, the cow is held in what's known as a squeeze chute and the scanner's eye-cup, specially molded for a cow's face, is held to each animal's eye.
The scanner senses when the eye is open, automatically makes an image, and downloads the data to a computer database. In addition to the retinal image, the device records the date, time and a global positioning satellite coordinate of the location.
"It's as simple as taking a picture," Encinias said. "Plus, we can do everything at chute side."
UPDATE: BB reader Jason Rist says, "A company called Optibrand, in Fort Collins, CO was started by several professors that had discovered a way of retinal scanning animals several years ago… Their tools are slightly more sophisticated, and have things like bluetooth built into the handset." Link