Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More Robots Are On The Way, For Chickens

Daily Insights 02/28/2017
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More Robots Are On The Way, For Chickens

Charoen Pokphand Group in Beijing is deploying robots to convince Chinese customers that its birds are healthy.

Bloomberg News reports that about 3 million laying hens get daily checkups from machines dubbed "nanny robots." These sensor-filled humanoids, perched atop a base with wheels, roll through a massive complex of windowless coops for 12 hours a day, monitoring the chickens' temperatures and movements. Humans pluck feverish or immobile birds from their cages to protect the rest of the flock and keep sick birds and their eggs from reaching kitchen tables. 

Besides the cool technology and obvious efficiencies, the move is for good reason. There is little consumer confidence by Chinese shoppers in a country where food safety is questionable and where chicken eggs have been found to be fake. Fake eggs have plagued Chinese consumers since at least 2005, when the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that since 2005 fake eggs were being sold at a street market in Guangzhou. The shells were made of calcium carbonate, while the egg white and yolk were a mixture of sodium alginate, gelatin, and tartrazine. 

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