Cows have sensitive hearing, so loud cowbells often make them anxious and irritable, decreasing their quality of life. Ear tags are painful and can introduce metallic substances in their bloodstream, increasing the risk for potential health complications. The GPS Cowbell retains the aesthetic of the iconic cowbell while simultaneously eliminating the dangers offered by ear tagging and implanted GPS systems.

What it does

The GPS Cowbell tracks, logs and monitors the locations of individual cows.

How we built it

A MakerFocus GPS module, a sensor that collects the latitude and longitude of cattle, is connected to a Raspberry Pi 0W that sends the data to the Google Cloud Platform via MySQL. The components are then mounted inside of the hollow area within the cowbell.

Challenges we ran into

At first, we were going to attach the GPS sensor to an Arduino UNO speaking to the Raspberry Pi but ran into errors with communication and data gathering. The Arduino UNO outputs 5 volts logic level, and the GPS only accepts 3.3 volts. This prohibited the two from easily communicating. In the end, the biggest problem, downloading MySQL on the Raspberry Pi, prohibited us from being able to fully finish the GPS Cowbell.

Because of the serious Raspberry Pi issues, the URL at the bottom depicts inaccurate data.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Two moments when we were so excited that we had to high five:

  1. when the GPS communicated with the Arduino UNO for approximately two minutes before failing
  2. when the Raspberry Pi's Micro SD Card was finished being flashed and was uploaded with a new image, allowing it to be programmed appropriately

What we learned

It is very difficult to work with serial ports and get two devices to successfully speak within a timely manner, especially when the hardware is set up wrong. Always check the hardware set-up.

What's next for GPS Cowbell

Hopefully, the cowbell may be perfected by carrying a portable, wireless battery pack and proposed to a friend who works for a farm that practices healthy grazing and makes organic-related farming choices.

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