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The four students behind Sheep Watch from left to right: Ricardas Cepanauskas, Emma McCabe, Edel Campbell and Zoe Maguire.
sheep watch

Meet the four Meath students who created a collar that protects sheep

Sheep Watch uses an electric collar to monitor a sheep’s heart-rate, and sends a message to the farmer if they are under attack.

A GROUP OF students from Meath have developed a collar that will help protect sheep from dog attacks.

Sheep Watch is designed to alert farmers when their sheep are under threat by using a pulse monitor to detect raised heart-rate, and uses an ultrasonic signal to scare away dogs.

The project comes from four first year students, Emma McCabe, Edel Cambell, Zoe Maguire and Ricardas Cepanauskas, from St. Oliver Post Primary School in Oldcastle, Co. Meath.

The idea for the project originally came from a discussion McCabe had with her father about a major sheep kill that happened in the area. McCabe said the basis of the idea “started off very small… but when we came to the school, I met with Zoe, Edel and Ricardas, and it progressed from there.”

The four began working on the project with their business teacher Ciara McConnell back in September and it took them a month to put the basic prototype together, which helped them win the junior section of the Meath County Enterprise Competition.

Since then, it’s received backing from Enterprise Ireland as well as from the MEP Mairead McGuinness. The group is now working with manufacturing company RTM Digital, who are putting together a more advanced version of the product.

‘High-frequency sound’

The sheep are fitted with a collar which records their pulse every 15 seconds. If they are being attacked, their heart rate will rise above the normal 60-90 beats and will send a signal to the transmitter box located in the field. This will then send a message to the farmer’s phone to alert him/her to the incident.

Farmers can also purchase an ultrasonic sounder which, when placed in the same field, will emit a high-frequency sound, scaring away the dog.

It’s hoped the product will not only protect the sheep from harm, but will also help save farmers money from having to treat injured sheep. It also avoids the possibility of a farmer having to put their dog down because they’re a threat to the sheep.

The group has put up their creation on the crowdfunding site Fund It, where they are hoping to raise €10,000 to help with prototyping.

The group hasn’t set a date for an official release but McCabe hopes it will be as “soon as possible.” When it is, it’s estimated that the collars will cost between €15 to €25, the transmitter box will cost €50 and the ultrasonic sounder will cost €20.

The group will be competing in the Student Enterprise Awards in Croke Park this Wednesday and are also considering entering the project into the BT Young Scientist competition which will be held next year.

Read: Group of Meath students come up with plan to save lives >

Read: Dublin student Paul Clarke wins top prize at BT Young Scientist >

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