Russian cows find happiness in virtual reality

Do cows love VR? (Image courtesy Moscow Ministry of Agriculture and Food.)

Some lucky cows are apparently finding virtual reality to be quite moo-ving.

A farm in Russia gave its cows custom made virtual reality headsets in an attempt to reduce their anxiety and improve the quality and quantity of their milk production.

The experiments took place northwest of Moscow at the RusMoloko farm, according to a statement released this Monday from Moscow’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

“Examples of dairy farms from different countries show that in a calm atmosphere, the quantity, and sometimes the quality of milk increased markedly,” the ministry said in the statement, which is in Russian.

By wearing the VR headsets the cows were transported to a beautiful sunny summer field, despite it being a cold and gray November day in Russia.

The first trials showed a decrease in anxiety and improved (moo)d among the subjects, according to the statement.

A team of developers working with veterinarians and dairy consultants for dairy production adapted human versions of VR headsets to account for cows’ unique head shapes and eyesight, which has a better perception of colors from the red portion of the spectrum.

A cow chilling in virtual reality on a farm in Russia. (Image courtesy Moscow Ministry of Agriculture and Food.)

Despite the promising initial results, it will take further studies to determine if milk production is actually helped by putting cows in a cheery VR simulation.

The developers reportedly hope to expand on the project if there are further positive results.

I don’t know about the cows, but I’d sure feel better in a sunny field than on a gray winter day.

Alex Korolov