Livestock News

Invention to prevent piglet crushing finalist in elite competition


The National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced the finalists in the 2017 Collegiate Inventors Competition and among the winners is an invention to stop piglet crushing by their mother.

One of six finalists in the undergraduate competition, SwineTech from the University of Iowa took home the Arrow Innovation Prize award with their invention: SmartGuard.

With more than 116 million newborn piglets accidentally crushed to death by their mothers on hog farms in 2016, team members Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza set out to find a way newborn piglets can be safe through sound. The SmartGuard system monitors the pitch, loudness, and duration of squeals and determines whether a piglet is in distress or just squealing as piglets normally do. When a piglet is in distress, the device sends a vibration to a wearable patch on the mother, prompting her to stand and free her piglet.

Now the SwineTech team along with their advisor Thomas Hornbeck will travel to Alexandria, Virginia to present their inventions to an esteemed panel of final-round judges composed of the most influential inventors and invention experts in the nation — National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) experts. Competition finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of USPTO patent and trademark examiners, sponsors, media, and the public at the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo on Nov. 3. 

Established in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is sponsored by the USPTO, Arrow Electronics, Bridgestone Americas, and Skild.

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