Equine Science Update
Reports from the world of  equine research.
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Tattoos, brands, passport pictures and microchips may all become things of the past with the advent of iris scanning for horses.

In the future, all that may be necessary to identify a horse will be to look at its eye. Still at the development stage for horses, the technology is already used for identifying people. Airports throughout the world have started using iris cameras for passenger screening and immigration control as an alternative to checking passports.

The iris has a delicate pattern, and like a fingerprint, each one is unique. Even genetically identical twins have differences in iris structure.

Global Animal Management, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has chosen Sarnoff Corporation to develop the first portable equine iris capture and identification system to help identify and track horses.

“In the high stakes sport of horse racing, correctly identifying horses is not nearly as fast or simple as it needs to be,” said Mark Clifton, Sarnoff Corporation’s Vice President for Products and Services.

“It can take more than a half hour to check a horse’s tattoos and markings, or even longer if they’ve faded over time, plus they’re easy to fake” he added. “Sarnoff’s new portable equine Iris ID system, based on decades of vision systems expertise and research, allows users to quickly and accurately identify horses right before a race, without undue stress on the animal.”

The system is based on Sarnoff’s Iris on the Move® (IOM) technology, which can capture iris images of sufficient quality for iris recognition while the subject is moving at a normal walking pace.

It will use a low visibility infrared light source to capture a horse’s iris image from a distance, even while the animal is moving. In this way, the horse is not disturbed or unnecessarily stressed as may occur using today’s methods of identification which often involve tattooing and manually checking marks on horses.
Written by Mark Andrews/Edited press release
. Published online 19.09.09.
© Copyright Equine Science Update  2009
Horse identification by iris scan.
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