A former Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientist is heading up a new startup which has designed a blockchain backed multi-tasking microchip for tracking animal welfare.
The startup Ultimo Digital Technologies (UDT) is founded by John Baird, also the chairman of the cybersecurity advisory council advising the NSW government. With the help of students from Sydney’s University of Technology earning up to AUS 100 an hour, the company has designed the incorruptible chip.
The tamper-proof chip takes information directly from the goods via the internet to a secure location that can’t be corrupted and tracks change in temperature, location and radiation levels. Baird claims that the chip could change the future of IoT device communication channels and data storage worldwide. He explained:
“Blockchain is completely flexible it can store any sort of IOT data… There’s a lot of people using blockchain for cryptocurrency, but to actually use them for the storage of IoT data — so you can get that data and store it away securely — I don’t think anyone in the world has done that yet.”
One of its uses, he suggested, is the tracking of animal welfare. Today, a BBC Radio 4 news item suggested that farm animal welfare standards are falling behind in the UK, with concerns over techniques utilized in some farming procedures. These concerns are reflected in other countries too, including the shipment of livestock and their treatment once they arrive overseas.
UDT is currently planning on working within this sector with its first tracked system leaving Brisbane for China in late October. The company will eventually be able to track livestock from the farm itself.
“We can figure out what stress looks like for a cow, and at a later point in the journey, if we can start to see that behavior again we know that the cow is stressed at that point, and… something has got to be done about it,” Baird says.
Sydney Fish Markets are also keen to explore using blockchain for supply chain tracking. General manager Bryan Skepper suggested:
“We’ll be able to have a system where it’s photographed at the point where it’s caught that photo goes into a blockchain ledger, it can never be corrupted and then… the blockchain system will trace that journey.”
Currently, UDT is also trialling an e-nose, which a device which will verify the age, temperature and freshness of fish.
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