Holy cow! BYU students develop technology to track milk production

Published: Tuesday, May 15 2012 10:11 p.m. MDT

BYU students developed a software program that's designed to help farmers track their cows using cloud computing.

Richard Clark

PROVO — A group of BYU students came up with an ingenious technological idea, and they're milking it for all it's worth.

Billing themselves as the LegenDairy Team, four students from the information technology program at BYU developed a simple software program that helps farmers track how many cows they have in stock and tracks the health of the cows.

"We wanted an idea that had a real-world application and something that would be more than a school project," said Kevin Brown, a member of the team. "It could make or break dairy farming (in) different countries."

The Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Design Competition named the team to its top 10 contenders and created an award to specifically recognize BYU's efforts. It's called the Azure Award for the best solution using cloud technology.

"I really feel like I've helped BYU gain larger recognition," project team member Craig Caro said. "We won the Microsoft Azure Award because they created that award for our team. There's going to be people every year who will go to the Microsoft Cup, and Microsoft will say they created the award for BYU."

The competition allowed the four seniors to complete their time at BYU in style.

"It's a really fulfilling project and a great way to finish off my time at BYU," Brown said. "We flew out to Seattle on the same day we graduated. We walked Friday morning, and a couple hours later, we were flying out to Seattle for the competition."

The software allows farmers to use mobile devices to track hundreds of cows in only a few minutes using cloud computing. Tracking the cows manually on a computer used to take hours and was much more expensive.

"Because of how expensive it has been in the past to get into it, small farms and developing farms couldn't get into the service," Brown said. "It would be cheaper for everyone. It would help smaller farms be competitive."

The team came up with the idea because their faculty adviser, Chia-Chi Teng, had family in Washington who were farmers and were willing to test the technology.

It worked.

Caro said the most difficult aspect of collaborating with the project was learning farm vocabulary and figuring out how to make everything work together. However, he said it was all worth it.

"Seeing how much time we can save people and how much happier they can be doing their daily tasks — it's been really fun to work together and see a finished project that is easy to use and intuitive and solves the problem," Caro said.

The team is still waiting to hear from Seattle on how it did for the event. LegenDairy is up for the People's Choice Award, which will be announced Saturday and is chosen by people voting at msimaginecup-fbchallenge.com.

Email: sgamble@desnews.com

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