Reading the measuring value
Picture of real size model
Ergonomic position of the device
Selecting cow position on the screen
What it does
The novel medical measurement device “mamelle” accelerates the diagnostics of mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue) in dairy cows from a couple of days to a few seconds and by that helps to optimize and to reduce the use of antibiotics.
Dairy farming and specifically the decreasing milk price is a hot topic in Northern Germany. A large number of farmers need to shut down their business due to economic reasons. Mastitis, the inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue, is one of the most frequently occurring diseases of dairy cows and can ultimately lead to the death of the animal. Looking at the economic importance of mastitis, it is surprising that diagnostics are still carried out in a time-consuming, complicated manner, often leading to a delayed treatment with antibiotics. With the help of my project, I strive to optimize the diagnostics.
How it works
My sketch „mamelle“ allows an instant diagnostic of the milk, directly at the cow. The measurement device combines sampling, measurement and displaying of the results. By means of Raman spectroscopy, an optical measurement method, type and count of the bacteria is shown within a couple of seconds. A completely new product type allows, with the aid of an elastic silicone membrane, an ergonomic milking by hand and by that enables the probe taking. Hygienic working is achieved through dirt-repellent surfaces and disinfection with ultraviolet light. A disposable collects probes of all mammary glands and gets disposed enclosed together with the milk.
Whilst developing, I set a high value on user-friendliness and an easy and safe milk sample recovery. Due to multiple possible sources for contamination, hygienic working in a cow barn is a challenge. Together with a veterinarian, a farmer and a biochemist, the available diagnostic possibilities and technical options have been discussed. An automated measuring process whilst mechanical milking is not wanted, as the cow shall stay in the focus as a patient to identify symptoms. Therefore, a handy device is required which is protected from contamination. Furthermore, the test results shall be presented directly on the device. Multiple functional and ergonomic tests with different product setups have been conducted with different cows having individual udders. The result is silicone-coated, washable device which concurrently serves for the sampling, the measurement and the displaying of the results. A mostly single-handed operation leaves space for the interaction with the cow and the natural milking movement, especially when dealing with an inflamed, algetic udder.
How it is different
So far, the milk of identified cows is examined in laboratories. This at least takes 2 days as the bacteria get cultivated on agar plates and analysed afterwards. However, prior to the results of the analysis, the cow receives a treatment with antibiotics to increase chances for recovery. Later, the treatment might be adjusted which leads to a second antibiotic which better suits the identified bacteria. The diagnostics with „mamelle“ takes place on-site. Within a couple of seconds, the veterinarian receives an exact result and can start the correct treatment. The cow can recover faster and the usage of antibiotics gets reduced to a minimum.
Next, I am searching for a partner company to develop a functioning prototype and to carry out tests to get the product market-ready. The technical development, programming and creation of necessary databases is outstanding. I am convinced of the necessity for this product and hope that it will improve the work of veterinarians and farmers in the near future.
Muthesius award for art, space and design, 2016, Kiel, Germany