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The hand-held technology helping to detect diseases in animals

PUBLISHED: 09:25 27 June 2019

Angela Curtis, sales director for RoboScientific. Picture: Harry Douglas-Gratton

Angela Curtis, sales director for RoboScientific. Picture: Harry Douglas-Gratton

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A cutting-edge product which aims to make it easier and simpler to judge the health of livestock has been unveiled at the Royal Norfolk Show.

VOCs “sniff the atmosphere” to give farmers reliable diagnostics on the health of livestock, crops, soil and stored vegetables. Picture: Harry Douglas-GrattonVOCs “sniff the atmosphere” to give farmers reliable diagnostics on the health of livestock, crops, soil and stored vegetables. Picture: Harry Douglas-Gratton

RoboScientific Ltd, based in Cambridgshire, has been displaying its Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) analysers in the innovation tent at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Already a recognised piece of technology, VOCs "sniff the atmosphere" to give farmers reliable diagnostics on the health of livestock, crops, soil and stored vegetables.

But, in a bid to make the technology more accessible, Roboscientiifc have been working on a hand-held device which will make the technology easier to use and require no technical expertise.

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Angela Curtis, sales director for RoboScientific, said: "Volatile Organic Compounds are a well recognised method of sniffing the atmosphere and identifying what is happening.

"It's what happens with dogs all the time; you see them wondering around sniffing each other. We're basically taking that technology and we've adapted it to create our own sensors."

Ms Curtis said the company was working on plans to distribute a simplified version of the technology, she said: "We're designing it so that in time, you'll have a hand held unit which will give a person like myself who's non-technical an answer that says 'salmonella, use this medicine to cure the chicken' so there'll be no technical health expertise needed.

"In January 2020 we'll be launching installed versions which will do it automatically, so they'll sit in a barn sniffing away at chickens or potatoes or onions and as soon as disease is present they'll send an alert to the farmer."

Although VOCs are already out there, Ms Curtis said that RoboScientific is unique because it can "identify different diseases", "analyses quickly" and is "non-invasive" towards livestock.

"Chickens get very stressed when people wander around in them. With something like this, which is automatic, it reduces the amount of people bothering them."

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