VetChip microchip technology ready for commercial trial to improve animal health

    Spearheaded by Fremantle-based veterinarian, Dr Garnett Hall, the VetChip microchip is implanted under the animal’s skin using a similar method to identity chips, and uses biosensors to continuously monitor temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygenation levels, and activity levels. 

    Biometric data collected by the chip is then interpreted by AI software to determine an animal’s normal health status and detect abnormalities as they occur, which is provided to owners through a connected phone app. The chip can also enhance the welfare and performance of horses by monitoring their health during training and recovery. 

    After a successful seed round in 2021 in which the company raised $2 million, VetChip is now looking to raise $5 million through AgriFutures growAG., an online agrifood innovation marketplace that connects users to investment opportunities, research and expertise from Australia and around the world. 

    When capital raising is complete, the funding will primarily be used to conduct a commercial trial of VetChip’s world-first technology over the next 18-24 months. 

    AgriFutures growAG. Senior Manager, Arianna Sippel, said it was an exciting opportunity to be involved with the future of animal health monitoring. 

    “This is truly world-leading technology which has the potential to change the lives of animals and their owners. VetChip has refined the technology to the point of commercial readiness, and with the right  investment partners they are now ready to take that next step.” 

    AgriFutures growAG. Senior Manager, Arianna Sippel

    Recently, VetChip was announced as the Australian winner of Nestle-Purina’s global Unleashed Pet Tech Accelerator Program and was selected as one of 12 recipients of the latest Western Australian Government’s Asia Access Grants. 

    “We’ve had a lot of attention from industry and global animal health companies. If we can demonstrate that our technology has commercial potential, then the sky’s the limit for its potential adoption.

    A big focus moving forward is training our AI algorithms to assess health, welfare and performance. The rapid advancements in AI are really exciting, and we believe that our technology will be an essential component of maximising the impact of AI in the veterinary world. 

    Australia needs to invest in this sort of technology development if we’re really going to lead  the world in smart agriculture and animal welfare.

    Fremantle-based veterinarian, Dr Garnett Hall

    The technology is designed to give owners peace of mind they are providing their animals with optimal quality of life. 

    VetChip has also developed an API link to existing health record technology, allowing vets to make more informed decisions based on an animal’s historical data. 

    It also functions as an identifier chip, so it is expected that in time, animal owners could be given the choice of the standard microchip, or VetChip which does ID and health monitoring.

    The inspiration for the advanced microchip came from health-related wearable technology which allows humans to measure more about their bodies.

    Several companies have developed wearable health monitors for animals, such as ear-tags or collars, but animals either chew them off or they just get destroyed out in the elements.  They also lack the ability to detect many important biological traits that an internal solution can. 

    VetChip will retail for around the same price as the wearable collars, but provide far more  insightful health data about the animals.

    Fremantle-based veterinarian, Dr Garnett Hall

    The technology is equally suitable for livestock like horses, cattle, sheep and pigs as it is for domestic pets. The hardware is exactly the same, but the AI model’s training and output can be customised depending on the species.

    This technology can change how animal management happens, and link with smart farm projects where monitoring the animals is often the biggest limitation.

    To learn more about the expression of interest, VetChip, or to get in touch, head to growAG

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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