If you are a veterinarian or have ever had to take (or even find) your pet to a clinic because you suspected that it was in pain or discomfort, you know how difficult this can be in some cases. However, this may change soon, as researchers at the University of Cambridge have a new tool in hand.
Incredibly, the new facial recognition software called the Sheep Pain Facial Expression (SPFES) has achieved a pretty incredible mark: just by looking at a sheep’s face, it can determine how much pain it is suffering. It may seem like a pure kick or something technically inaccurate, but it’s not quite like that.
Briefly, sheep have specific facial expressions for each level of pain they feel, something that can be very subtle and interpretive to the human eye or simply too laborious for those who can understand. Because of this, the program was created to make it easier at such times.
The cool part is that the utility was built based on human facial expressions. In total, the program can distinguish up to nine different expressions and determine a level of pain for each of them. The rate of success and success is relatively high: 67% of the time the SPFES has been successful.
Like any software, the larger the database, the more chances for enhancement the researchers will have and the more easily the application will be able to recognize the levels of pain. The proposal is that the SPFES evolve in the future and can be used in rats, rabbits, and horses, making it a powerful tool in the hands of veterinarians.