Technology impacts the lives of humans every day, and we can use that same technology to study and improve the lives of animals.
Animal Informatics is a growing field that focuses on designing technology specifically for animals that can help humans understand how animals interact with their environment with the goal of increasing their quality of life. It’s also about ways in which animal-human interaction can be beneficial to all involved.
Animal Informatics improves lives—both animal and human
Animal informatics utilizes sensors to track horse behavior and rider coordination to assess progress in physical therapy progress or improve human mental health. It also can help develop smart enclosures for animals at wildcare rescues to limit or eliminate contamination issues while keeping human-animal contact at a minimum, allowing rescued animals to safely return to the wild. It uses technology to track and understand the social networking patterns of bats to help limit the spread of disease among the bat population. Animal informatics uses video, GPS, microphones, computer vision, and machine learning to study how crows pass along knowledge to one another, and it observes gorillas and helps inform the design of user-centered objects and habitat features that benefit both gorillas and their keepers.
Animal informatics also can create underwater technology to study how dolphins learn in comparison to other animals, and it can use social media to study the migration patterns of birds. It also can use virtual reality to study the building blocks of intelligence in chickens, providing insight on the basic building blocks of how intelligence develops, which can lead to the improved artificial intelligence systems of tomorrow.