An American company has devised a system that takes over your entire home, makes all your lights start flashing and broadcasts neighing noises through the whole house when your pregnant horse starts giving birth.
Custom electronics trade news website CE Pro, reporting on this interesting mashup of smart home and Internet of Things gear, mused: "Couldn't an imminent birth tap into these vast technological resources, maybe prompting an announcement over the in-house speakers?"
This alarming, but, for equinologists, apparently quite useful system, was put together by California-based Simply Sight and Sound on the request of client Aimee Davis, a smart home enthusiast and horse breeder from Chino Hills.
The problem appears to be that when Aimee is in the house, she cannot monitor her horses outside during foaling season. Already having a "whole-house A/V and smart home system" installed, she naturally turned to technology.
Warning: if you are of weak stomach, about to eat or have recently eaten, you may not wish to read past this point. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES click any of the links from here onwards if you are squeamish. Don't say we didn't warn you.
A surprisingly well-advanced technological market exists for monitoring foaling horses. The one used in the whole-home blurt system was something called Foalert, which CE Pro said incorporates a transmitting device that is sutured by a vet "to the mare's privates". An explanatory video of this process is available on YouTube, and we'll let you, dear reader, sully your browsing history by watching it (for the record, CE Pro found this video, not us, and your correspondent held out for about 15 seconds).
We can't really improve on CE Pro's description of how Foalert functions:
The device works like a typical normally-closed door/window sensor. That thing that happens down there when mom is ready ... opens up a gap between the two elements of the sensor, causing the transmitter to send an RF signal to the old-fangled Foalert receiver, which plays some beeping noises through the on-board speaker.
Once mummy gee-gee starts giving birth, the Foalert system is hooked up to the home automation system via its wireless receiver to the Elan smart home system, which runs the interactive gadgetry. That in turn launches the custom-made "birth alert" scene, complete with horror-film-style flashing lights, all 18 (count 'em!) speakers broadcasting a loop of neighing noises, firing off text messages to the homeowner's phone, and quite possibly erecting a Bat Signal and paging Bruce Wayne into the bargain.
It does, genuinely, also support remote viewing of CCTV camera feeds, allowing one to, as CE Pro puts it, "enjoy all that glorious birthing footage live, possibly sharing the miracle on Facebook, and replaying it over and over for friends and family".
The system is supported by a dedicated UPS and remote power management service.
Mickey-taking aside, for a dedicated horse breeder such a system is highly useful; horses are valuable beasts and getting the vet on scene immediately can, for the foal, literally mean the difference between life and death. If the mare starts foaling in the dead of night, turning the entire house into a giant flashing "HORSE BIRTH NOW" klaxon would be enough to wake up even the heaviest sleeper.
Just don't expect much takeup from lily-livered city folk. ®